IRL: Indy 500: Newman/Haas Racing day three report

TEAM CENTRIX DRIVERS JUNQUEIRA AND BOURDAIS COMPLETED FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDY 500 TODAY AND RAN A COMBINED TOTAL OF 231 LAPS Bruno Junqueira, No. 36 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: "It was a really good day for the No. 36 Team ...

TEAM CENTRIX DRIVERS JUNQUEIRA AND BOURDAIS COMPLETED FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR THE INDY 500 TODAY AND RAN A COMBINED TOTAL OF 231 LAPS

Bruno Junqueira, No. 36 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: "It was a really good day for the No. 36 Team CENTRIX car. We put the car on the track and on the third lap I ran 223 (mph) so I am quite happy with that. The balance was good and we made long runs with full fuel and worked on the race setup which we were able to improve from last year. I'm very happy to be back at Indianapolis, I love driving on this track. We will keep working on the race setup tomorrow since ours wasn't as good as we would have liked last year."

FAST FACTS: Will be his fourth race here. In his rookie event in 2001 he started 20th and finished fifth for Target Ganassi Racing. He won the pole position in 2002, led the first 32 laps but retired in 31st place with engine failure also with Target Ganassi Racing. Last year in his first Indy 500 with NHR he qualified his PacifiCare Honda-G-Force fourth despite limited practice time. He was in the midst of leading 16 laps when rain and tornados were closing in but had to give up the lead to pit for fuel and was in fifth place when the race was stopped early under caution not long after due to weather...BRAZILIANS AT THE INDY 500: Only two Brazilians have won the Indy 500: Emerson Fittipaldi (1989 & 1993, Sao Paulo) and Helio Castroneves (2001-2002, Sao Paulo). (Gil de Ferran is classified as French.)

Sebastien Bourdais, No. 37 Team CENTRIX Honda/Panoz/Firestone: "Today went pretty well. We trimmed the car just a little but we are working more on the race setup than a qualifying setup. The CENTRIX car was fairly fast. We didn't find as much traffic as we would have liked but we have an initial idea on our race setup. We basically identified the problems and will try to work on them tomorrow. By ourselves, the car is good but it's not so good in traffic so we have some work to do. When I catch up to people it's a struggle to drive the car. It seems like people are trying to trim their cars a lot and must be working on their qualifying setup so we aren't too worried about our overall position on the lap speed report."

FAST FACTS: Will be his Indy 500. Had not even sat in an IndyCar until April 18 when he had a seat fitting. Ran his first laps in an IndyCar during the two-day Rookie Orientation Program beginning Sunday, April 8....OVAL SUCCESS: Has won two oval races (Germany 2003 & Las Vegas 2004) and one pole on an oval (Germany 2003)...VIVA FRANCE!: Only four Frenchmen have won the Indy 500: Jules Goux (1913, Paris), Rene Thomas (1914, Paris), Gaston Chevrolet (1920, Beaune) and Gil de Ferran (2003, Paris although he lists Sao Paulo, Brazil as his hometown). ..LEADS 2005 CCWS STANDINGS: Ended a series active record for most top-three starts at 15 with his fourth place qualifying effort at the season-opener in Long Beach but led a total of 37 laps and drove to victory in an exciting race that had seven different leaders. Holds a 34-29 lead over Paul Tracy.

NEWMAN/HAAS RACING FACTS: The 2005 entry will mark the 15th year for NHR in the event and the first as a two-car team since 1995. Prior to 2005, the team prepared a total of 21 entries for drivers such as Mario and Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. The entry of Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais in 2005 will bring the total to 23. NHR's highest finish in the Indy 500 is second place with Mario Andretti in 1985 and Michael Andretti in 1991 although team drivers have led many laps here. Mario Andretti also brought the team its highest start in the event when he won the pole position in 1987. NHR's 2004 entry of Junqueira marked the first time for the team to compete here since 1995.

NEXT UP: Practice will resume tomorrow from 12-6 p.m. CT in preparation for the first day of qualifying on Saturday, May 14. Log onto www.indyracingleague.com for live timing and scoring.

-nhr-

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Series IndyCar
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing