Indianapolis, IN (May 11, 1998) - Speeds were up across the board today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dan Drinan's No. 24 and Arie Luyendyk's No. 5T were the only two cars unable to surpass yesterday's speed. Luyendyk turned two laps in the No....
Indianapolis, IN (May 11, 1998) - Speeds were up across the board today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dan Drinan's No. 24 and Arie Luyendyk's No. 5T were the only two cars unable to surpass yesterday's speed. Luyendyk turned two laps in the No. 5T car before it stopped on track, requiring a tow to the pits. Fred Treadway's team then focused on the primary car in the afternoon. Once in the primary car, Arie ran 26 laps but could still not match his previous day's speed of 219.207. Arie ran 26 laps in the primary car today.
Tony Stewart set fastest time today just 34 minutes into today's seven hour practice session. His speed of 223.703 was over seven miles an hour faster than yesterday's speed. Team Menard continued to spilt the set up duties between the team's two drivers. Tony worked on race set up yesterday and today it was Buhl's turn. Buhl was fastest yesterday and was eighth fastest today. Stewart was eighth fastest yesterday.
Steve Knapp was the fastest rookie today with a speed of 216.826 in Jeff Ward's backup car. Knapp's car is expected to arrive Wednesday or Thursday. The six foot four inch Knapp ran USFF2000 in 1996 and Atlantics last year. Knapp isn't interested in taking any chances when it comes to pressing the car for more speed. "The car pretty much tells you what it can do" Knapp said. "I've run the same speeds as Jim (Guthrie) and Jeff (Ward) so my confidence is up." Rookies Jimmy Kite and Jack Hewitt were sidelined today after separate accidents yesterday.
The only on track mishap was a third turn crash by Danny Ongais. Ongais got loose on entry to turn three, got off the throttle and the car veered unto the grass. The car shot straight across turn three and made heavy impact with the outside wall. Ongais was unconscious when safety crews arrived but was awake and alert as he was put in the ambulance. Once at the hospital, Ongais was listed in good condition but will be held overnight for observation and more scans.
Eddie Cheever announced his new sponsor today. Rachel's Potato Chips have signed a two year deal to sponsor Team Cheever. For now, the deal is for just Cheever's car. Cheever's teammate Robby Unser was at the press conference to help Cheever announce his new "corporate partnership" with Rachel's.
Cheever is extremely pleased with the progress of his new teammate. "Robby is ahead of where Jeff Ward was at this time last year." Cheever said. Robby ran 41 laps today but only managed to shave two-tenths of a second off yesterday's time.
Johnny Unser has been announced as Buddy Lazier's teammate at Hemelgarn Racing. Unser will pilot a Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear combination.
Joe Gosek has been announced as the driver of the No. 29 Liberty Special G Force/Aurora/Firestone car.
David Reininger - Motorsport News International