Takagi, Giaffone & Barron wrap up Indy 500 preparations with Carburetion Day final practice. INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 22, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tora Takagi, Felipe Giaffone and Alex Barron wrapped up their preparations...
Takagi, Giaffone & Barron wrap up Indy 500 preparations with Carburetion Day final practice.
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 22, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing teammates Tora Takagi, Felipe Giaffone and Alex Barron wrapped up their preparations for Sunday's 87th Indianapolis 500 today during the two-hour traditional Carburetion Day of final practice.
Giaffone and the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force led the way today in the Mo Nunn camp with a fast lap of 225.979 mph (39.8267 seconds) during his 13 laps of work around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway four-cornered oval. Giaffone qualified at 227.210 mph during the rain-delayed Pole Day session two Sundays ago and will start the 500-mile race this weekend from the inside of the sixth row. It will be his third Indy 500. He finished third last year.
Barron and the #20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force was next-fastest in the Mo Nunn garage today with a fast lap of 225.253 mph (39.9551 seconds) during his 12 laps of work. Barron is subbing for the injured Arie Luyendyk in the Meijer car. He qualified on Bump Day last Sunday at a speed of 227.274 mph that was best of all qualifiers that day. Barron will start from the inside of the ninth row. It will be Barron's second Indy 500. He finished fourth last year driving for Blair Racing.
Takagi overcame a throttle response problem at the outset of today's practice to post a fast lap of 224.486 mph (40.0916 seconds) during his 21 laps in the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force. Takagi was the fastest qualifier of the Mo Nunn contingent at 229.358 mph and will start Sunday's race from the inside of the third row. It will be Takagi's first Indy 500.
Kenny Brack was fastest today at 228.707 mph (39.3516 seconds), followed by Robby Gordon at 227.850 mph (39.4997 seconds) and Gil de Ferran at 227.812 mph (39.5062 seconds).
Race time Sunday is 11 a.m. local time (noon EDT) with a live ABC-TV broadcast set to begin with a one-hour pre-race show at 11 a.m. EDT.
"I'm very happy with my race car. The conditions were very good today, and the car felt just great. We ran in traffic a little bit and spent some time running alone. My goal is to win the race, for sure. We're going to have a good shot at it, but a lot has to happen. You have to stay out of trouble. You can't have any problems with the car. You have to have good pit stops every time. And you have to be in the right place at the right time to be able to win it. You also have to have a little bit of luck, I think. That's something we could have used at the end of the race last year. But it's a new year and everybody is back on even terms, at this point."
"It's been a really short month for me, but I'm definitely excited about Sunday and I think we're ready to go the distance. Overall, I'm very happy with my race car. It's amazing the job everyone on the Meijer crew has done to get us ready for the race. They only came together for the 500 but the chemistry seems to be there for a winning effort. It's really an honor to drive the car everybody is used to seeing Arie Luyendyk drive. He's a true legend of the Speedway. We'll compare notes with my teammates and make our final setup and strategy decisions about an hour or so before the race on Sunday. We brought in Tom Gloy to call the race for me and to orchestrate our strategy. We worked together last year and we definitely had a shot at winning the race by the time all was said and done. I hope we can work even more magic this year. I love this race and I think it's going to be really exciting this year."
"Overall, I think everything is alright for Sunday. We had a little bit of a problem with the throttle at the beginning of practice but we managed to fix it. Then the problem was that I had a hard time finding traffic, so I spent most of the practice running all by myself. The car seems to be good when I'm running alone. But it will be very important on Sunday to have a good car in traffic because there is a lot of turbulence on race day here with 33 cars. I will definitely have to get some input from (teammates) Felipe (Giaffone) and Alex (Barron) to see what we can do to make sure our car is good in traffic. They said they really liked their cars in traffic today. It will be my first Indy 500, but I have been studying video tapes of past races all week. I have never even seen this race on TV before. It will be rather unusual to start the race with three cars in each row, so we will see how that works out. It think it will be no problem. I'm looking forward to Sunday very much."