IRL: Indy 500: Jimmy Vasser starting position report

Miller Lite driver Jimmy Vasser to start 19th in 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. HILLIARD, OH . . . Miller Lite driver Jimmy Vasser will start 19th in the May 26th Indianapolis 500. Vasser's spot on the inside of Row 7 was solidified with...

Miller Lite driver Jimmy Vasser to start 19th in 86th running of the Indianapolis 500.

HILLIARD, OH . . . Miller Lite driver Jimmy Vasser will start 19th in the May 26th Indianapolis 500. Vasser's spot on the inside of Row 7 was solidified with the close of Bump Day Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 36-year-old California native will make his seventh start in the world's most famous auto race when he takes the green flag a week from today.

"It is a great feeling to have the qualifying process behind us," said Vasser who owns two 500-mile wins in his open-wheel racing career. "Running the Indy 500 is a complicated process and the first critical step is qualifying for the race. Now we face the biggest challenge, the race itself."

"Whenever you aren't at the front of the field you tend to second guess yourself and you start wondering if the time you took was quick enough," said Vasser. "When I saw the first few qualifiers today post qualifying speeds in the 228 range we started to get concerned but our initial instinct was correct. We did the right thing by qualifying last week because we spent the week focused on the race and working on making the car the best it can be for race day. This place can play mind games with you and when in doubt you have to trust your first instinct."

Vasser has raced in six previous Indy 500's twice finishing fourth (1994 & 2001). Vasser, the fastest rookie qualifier at Indy in 1992, has three top-seven results in his last four races at Indy.

"Now we can get on with the race," said 1986 Indy 500 champion and Rahal/Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal. "I know we have a good set-up and that Jimmy is very happy with the race set-up. Everybody is breathing a lot easier throughout the whole paddock. These cars are so sensitive to the weather that you if you get lucky and the weather works your way you can pick up a couple of miles an hour that you couldn't find or if you get unlucky like us you can lose a couple of miles an hour. We have a very good race car and we are looking forward to race day."

Rahal/Letterman Racing will return to the Speedway for Carburetion Day on Thursday, the final time cars can practice for the 2002 Indy 500. A mere two-hours of practice time remains prior to the start of the race.

Rahal/Letterman Racing is the Indy Racing League (IRL) entry of Team Rahal a franchise member of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). Headquartered in Hilliard, Ohio, the team owned by three-time CART Champion Bobby Rahal and CBS LATE SHOW host David Letterman, currently fields a pair of Championship Cars for 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser and Michel Jourdain Jr. in the CART FedEx Championship Series and an entry for Vasser in the Indianapolis 500. The 65-member team enjoys primary sponsorship from the Shell Oil Company and the Gigante Group in CART and the Miller Brewing Company for the Indy 500.

The 2002 racing season marks the 30th year that Miller Brewing has been a sponsor in open-wheel competition dating back to 1973 in the United States Auto Club (USAC) and the Indianapolis 500. Since its first involvement in open wheel competition, Miller Indy and Championship cars have won 17 races including the 1985 Indy 500 (with Danny Sullivan), 19 pole positions and two CART season championships (with Danny Sullivan in 1988 and Bobby Rahal in 1992). The 'Indy 500 Pit Stop Contest' also was sponsored by Miller for 18 years.

Miller Brewing Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Philip Morris Companies Inc. Principal beer brands include Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Genuine Draft Light, Miller High Life, and Milwaukee's Best. Primary products from the Plank Road Brewery, a small division of Miller, include ICEHOUSE and Red Dog. Specialty regional brands include Leinenkugel's Henry Weinhard's, and the company malt liquor brands include Olde English 800 and Mickey's Malt Liquor. Miller also imports Foster's and brews Sharp's, a non-alcohol brew.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jimmy Vasser , Bobby Rahal , Danny Sullivan , Philip Morris , Michel Jourdain