RAY SCORCHES SPEEDWAY WITH 227 MPH LAP Team Menard Driver Turns Fastest Lap Ever for New-Formula Cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with IRL Aurora V8 INDIANAPOLIS, May 20, 1999 - Greg Ray sent an unmistakable message to his rivals today at...
RAY SCORCHES SPEEDWAY WITH 227 MPH LAP
Team Menard Driver Turns Fastest Lap Ever for New-Formula Cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with IRL Aurora V8
INDIANAPOLIS, May 20, 1999 - Greg Ray sent an unmistakable message to his rivals today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he turned the fastest lap ever at the Brickyard with a new-formula IRL car. Ray gunned his Glidden/Menard's Oldsmobile-powered Dallara to a 227.192 mph run on the sixth day of practice for the Indianapolis 500. His time eclipsed Tony Stewart's 226.683 mph lap on Wednesday and bettered his own unofficial lap record of 227.072 mph set during open testing in April.
"Tomorrow, we'll try to go even faster because we'll need every bit of speed we can get," said Ray. "But more importantly, we'll need to keep it off the walls."
* Oldsmobile engines turned the five fastest speeds today as 50 cars completed a total of 1,906 laps. The 50 car/driver combinations was the most on the Speedway's 2.5-mile oval in six days of practice leading up to the Indianapolis 500. The IRL Aurora V8 is the engine of choice in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, with 45 of the 50 cars relying on Oldsmobile power.
* Family Tradition: Robby Unser, the 1998 IRL Rookie of the Year, turned the second fastest time of the day in Team Pelfrey's PetroMoly Oldsmobile Dallara at 225.079 mph. Robby's father Bobby, uncle Al Unser, Sr. and cousin Al Unser, Jr. have won the race a total of nine times.
"We've been working all week on getting mechanical grip with the race car, and when we trimmed out the wings, the speed was there," Robby reported. "It's really great to be here; this place means so much to us. Indy is a great place to find out who you are and what you can do. It can be a very hard place, and at the same time it's beautiful every time you go around it."
* Birthday Surprise: Tony Stewart, the 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion, turned 28 today, but his birthday celebration was soured by a close encounter with the Speedway's unforgiving concrete wall. Stewart was uninjured in the accident, and his Tri Star Motorsports team will have his Home Depot Oldsmobile Dallara repaired in time for qualifying. Stewart will commute to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., where he will drive Joe Gibbs' NASCAR Winston Cup Pontiac on Friday, and will return to Indy for Pole Day on Saturday.
"I went flat out into Turn 3, made it down to the center of the corner pretty good, and then the last third of the corner I lost the nose a little bit," Stewart said. "I needed about 12 more inches of race track. Unfortunately, I ran out of track and hit the wall."
"We're changing an engine tonight, but we haven't changed an engine this whole week," noted co-owner and crew chief Larry Curry. "This (the accident) is a bump in the road as far as I'm concerned. We will have that car ready to run by the time the track closes tomorrow night. It will be just as good as it was when it ran 226 mph."
* Oldsmobile Update: Ten independent builders are supplying Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engines for the Indy 500 field. The four fastest cars on Thursday represented four Oldsmobile engine builders: Team Menard (Greg Ray), Brayton Engineering (Robby Unser), Comptech Machine (Arie Luyendyk), and Roush Technologies (Stephan Gregoire).
* Today's Aurora Factoid: A production Aurora V8 water pump moves 106 gallons per minute at peak rpm - enough water to fill your bathtub in about 19 seconds.
* TOP 10 DRIVERS OF THE DAY
Pos/Car # Driver Entry Engine Speed 1. 2T Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 227.192* 2. 81 Robby Unser Team Pelfrey Oldsmobile 225.079 3. 5 Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 225.073 4. 7 Stephan Gregoire Simon Racing Oldsmobile 224.792 5. 91 Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Rcng. Oldsmobile 224.361 6. 51 Eddie Cheever Team Cheever Infiniti 224.193 7. 99 Sam Schmidt Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 224.131 8. 14 Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 223.708 9. 8 Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 223.691 10. 11T Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 223.564
*Fastest unofficial lap during Indy 500 practice