Takagi qualifies 7th, Giaffone 16th for Indy 500; Luyendyk chooses to wait until Bump Day. INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 11, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing's Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone qualified for the 87th Indianapolis 500 under cool and gusty ...
Takagi qualifies 7th, Giaffone 16th for Indy 500; Luyendyk chooses to wait until Bump Day.
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 11, 2003) -- Mo Nunn Racing's Tora Takagi and Felipe Giaffone qualified for the 87th Indianapolis 500 under cool and gusty conditions today while their teammate for the month, two-time winner Arie Luyendyk, decided to wait until Bump Day next Sunday to make his qualifying attempt.
Takagi and the #12 Pioneer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force clocked a four-lap average speed of 229.358 mph over the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway four-cornered oval. That puts him on the inside of the third row for the May 25 race. His four laps in succession: 229.879 mph (39.1510 seconds), 229.729 mph (39.1766 seconds), 229.406 mph (39.2318 seconds), and 228.424 mph (39.4004 seconds). It will be the first Indy 500 for the 29-year-old Japanese veteran of Formula 1 and CART.
Giaffone, last year's third-place finisher here from the fourth spot on the starting grid, put his #21 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force on the inside of the sixth row with a four-lap average qualifying speed of 227.210 mph. His four laps in succession: 227.610 mph (39.5414 seconds), 227.172 mph (39.6175 seconds), 226.921 mph (39.6613 seconds), and 227.137 mph (39.6237 seconds).
Luyendyk, who injured his upper back when his #20 Meijer/Mo Nunn Racing Toyota-powered Panoz G Force made heavy contact with the wall in Turn 1 on Friday, opted not to make a qualifying attempt today due to his injury as well as the tremendously gusty winds that lasted through the afternoon. Regardless of his qualifying speed next week, he cannot start the race ahead of any of those cars that qualified today.
Two-time-defending Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves captured the pole with a four-lap average of 231.725 mph. Tony Kanaan qualified second at 231.006 mph, and will be joined on the front row by his teammate Robby Gordon, who qualified third at 230.205 mph.
Practice resumes Wednesday through Saturday with final qualifying scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. CDT. Carburetion Day (final practice) is Thursday, May 22, and the race is set for noon CDT Sunday, May 25.
"It feels good to qualify for my first Indy 500, but I think we could have got much faster. We ran practice laps in the 230-mph range this morning and the car felt just right. I was pretty happy with my first two qualifying laps, but then the car lost speed on the third and fourth laps. I actually picked up a push in Turn 2 on the last lap, which cost me some time. My radio and my telemetry went out after the second lap, and I really needed to communicate with my crew to ask if I should come in (wave off) and try again later. I guess the power went out around the whole track for a short time during my run. But we took the checkered flag and it doesn't matter what happened. I'm really looking forward to the race. We have had a fast car all week and I think we are up to the challenge of trying to win this very important 500-mile race."
"I'm a little disappointed, but I'm not surprised that that's all we had today. For one reason or another, we struggled the last two or three days and we just couldn't put our finger on why. If we knew the answer, we wouldn't be starting in the sixth row. The one thing we know for sure is that we have a very good car in race trim. We made a lot of long runs and full-tank runs this week and I was very happy with how the car performed. So now that qualifying is behind us, it's time to make our race setup even better. I think we have a great shot at winning this thing."
"I guess we decided to not qualify today. I'm not comfortable in the car, and I wasn't feeling too confident. The wind was throwing the car around so much in practice this morning that I even got a little sideways at one point. It was then I decided that it's not the most ideal conditions to get back into the car after a crash like we had on Friday. You definitely need confidence to get around here with any kind of speed and it just wasn't going to happen for us today. I haven't been able to focus all too well since the crash. And my back muscles hurt a great deal, right between the shoulder blades. I think the best thing to do is to take a couple of days off to get my body back as close to 100 percent as possible, and then take a few days to work on getting the Meijer car back up to speed before trying to put it in the show on Sunday. You can win this race from anywhere on the grid, so we're not worried."