Pagan Racing 83rd Indianapolis 500 Thursday, May 27, 1999 Carburetion Day Driver: Jeff Ward Car: Pagan Racing No. 21 Yahoo! / MerchantOnline Dallara / Oldsmobile / Goodyear Jeff Ward set the 9th fastest lap in the last...
83rd Indianapolis 500 Thursday, May 27, 1999 Carburetion Day
Driver: Jeff Ward
Car: Pagan Racing No. 21 Yahoo! / MerchantOnline Dallara / Oldsmobile / Goodyear
Jeff Ward set the 9th fastest lap in the last practice session before the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500. Ward's lap of 220.432 mph in the Pagan Racing Yahoo! / MerchantOnline Dallara Oldsmobile Goodyear confirmed the team as a top contender for the win on Sunday.
"I can run those speeds all day long on race day," said Ward. "We ran 221 or 222 every time we went out in practice. We were consistent in all kinds of conditions. It didn't matter if it was windy, hot or cold, our setup still produced fast laps. Even if the track lost its grip, we still ran 221."
Ward, whose car now sports a purple and yellow paint scheme to highlight the new team sponsors, will start the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 in the 14th position. "We've got a solid starting position," said Ward. "Last year I started 27th. I had worked my way up to seventh or eighth after twenty laps. I'm up in the fifth row where there are 10 to 15 guys ahead of me that are capable of staying out of trouble. Besides, the car is fantastic in traffic. I have no worries whatsoever about any situation. I can go flat out under any condition."
Even though the Indianapolis 500 is the single most important automobile race in the world, Jeff Ward prepares as he would for any other race. "I don't get all uptight or anxious about the race, I just take it as any other race. I go out there to win it. I've been racing so many years, been in so many championships, and won so many races that I just go into each race with the same mentality. I know all the preparation is done and all our bases are covered, so all I have to do is go out there and do the job."
Ward, a champion in every AMA Motocross division, sees some similarity between racing over jumps on two wheels and racing over 200 miles per hour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Supercross is all timing. If you over-jump one of the first jumps, you lose your momentum, then you can't do the last two jumps. You have to slow down to go fast. You have to time yourself to pass a guy. There are places on the track where you can't pass and sometimes there's only one place you can. You just have to wait until the time is right. It's the same thing here at Indy. You can't pass in the short chute, so if you get caught behind somebody, the guy behind passes you coming off turn two. In short, it's all timing."
After a systems check, the Pagan Racing Yahoo! / MerchantOnline / Dallara Oldsmobile Goodyear No. 21 will be parked until Sunday's race. "We're going to pull the tunnel (undertray) down and make sure we don't have any leaks or anything, then we'll put it in line to race," said Mitch Davis, Pagan Racing's crew chief. "We'll practice pit stops on the spare car every day until the race. I've got the best handling car at the Speedway and I can't wait to prove it on Sunday."
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