IRL: Indy 500: Mo Nunn Racing day five practice report

Takagi reaches 232 on day 5 of Indy 500 practice. INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 8, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and the ...

Takagi reaches 232 on day 5 of Indy 500 practice.

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 8, 2003) -- Tora Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force became the first driver this month to break the 232-mph barrier in practice today for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Takagi turned a fast lap of 232.007 mph (38.7919 seconds) around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway four-cornered oval early in this afternoon to jump to the top of the speed charts. That time stood as fastest of the month until his fellow Indy 500 "rookie," Dan Wheldon, beat it with a lap of 232.202 mph (38.7594 seconds) during the final hour of practice today. Nonetheless, Takagi has been among the top three drivers after three of the first five days of practice this week. He was fastest on Monday and third-fastest on Opening Day Sunday. Takagi turned his fast lap on his 27th of 28 total laps run today.

Teammates Felipe Giaffone and Arie Luyendyk, meanwhile, took time today to work on both their primary and back-up cars.

Giaffone, last year's third-place finisher here, turned his fastest lap of the month in the #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force with a 229.410-mph (39.2310-second) effort during a 30-lap session with the primary car. He then brought out his back-up #21T Hollywood entry and turned a nearly similar lap of 229.161 mph (39.2737 seconds) on his 14th of 26 laps in that car. The two fast laps were 12th- and 13th-fastest overall today.

Luyendyk, the 1990 and 1997 Indy 500 winner, did a 226.492-mph (39.7365-second) lap in his #20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force, after a 226.019-mph (39.8196-second) lap in the #21T Meijer back-up car. He completed just six laps in the primary car after running 34 laps in the back-up. His times were 23rd and 25th on the timesheet.

Friday is the final day of practice before Pole Day qualifying on Saturday.

"All I have to say is, we're going fast, and it feels really great. When I saw the fast times from yesterday and the day before (231-plus mph), I thought that would be a very realistic goal for me and my car. But when I saw that I did a 232 today, I had to look again because I didn't believe it. I really surprised myself. I have to say that it felt very comfortable. The car still has grip, and I think we can still improve the car a little bit more from there. Today's conditions were very good. I hear it's going to be quite different tomorrow and for qualifying on Saturday, so who knows what is going to happen. We really have to study how our car reacts to different conditions and be ready for anything on Saturday, because that's the first really important day of the month here."

"Our practice speeds really don't do justice to how good my cars feel. They feel really, really good. The engine, the chassis, the tires, everything. I really can't complain about any one area. I'm driving flat. I have no push. I'm not loose. The car is very balanced. Still, we need to find what it's going to take to squeeze just about a mile-and-a-half (per hour) out of the car before Saturday. I think it's very possible. And trust me, we have some of the best minds in the business working on it."

"We're pedaling as fast as we can, believe me. We had some problems today that didn't allow us a whole lot of track time. But we're definitely looking into everything possible to get us up there with my teammates. I think we'll have a little meeting of the minds and see what the result is tomorrow."


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Arie Luyendyk , Tora Takagi , Dan Wheldon , Mo Nunn