Castroneves back on top after short day of practice at Indy. INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 6, 2002 -- Helio Castroneves returned today to a familiar place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the top. Defending Indianapolis 500 champion...
Castroneves back on top after short day of practice at Indy.
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 6, 2002 -- Helio Castroneves returned today to a familiar place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- the top.
Defending Indianapolis 500 champion Castroneves led a rain-shortened, windy practice session with a fast lap of 39.6972 seconds, 226.716 mph in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
Castroneves was second fastest on Indianapolis Star Opening Day on May 5 with a lap of 39.5764, 227.408.
"Today the conditions were totally different than yesterday," Castroneves said. "We had rain. The track was green. The wind was in a different position.
"The car so far is handling very well, which is good, but you still have to keep working. Everybody is getting closer. The times are getting closer. It wasn't as fast as yesterday, but I do believe we have a good position right now, so let's keep working hard."
There were just 77 minutes of practice today on the 2.5-mile oval, as showers delayed the start for nearly six hours. Practice opened at 4:43 p.m. (EST), the latest start for a practice day at the Speedway since 1990, when a practice began at 5:14 p.m. under a running yellow.
Rookie Laurent Redon was second fastest at 39.7972, 226.147 in the No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, with 2001 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year Felipe Giaffone third at 39.8353, 225.930 in the No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone.
PJ Jones, in just his second day on track with Team Menard, was fourth fastest at 39.8508, 225.842 in the No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. Jones is substituting for the injured Jaques Lazier.
Bruno Junqueira stayed in the top five for the second consecutive day with a top lap of 39.8627, 225.775 in the No. 34 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. Junqueira was fourth best on Opening Day at 39.6767, 226.833.
1996 IRL co-champion Scott Sharp, fastest on Opening Day at 39.5481, 227.571, did not practice today, citing the unpredictable weather and heavy traffic due to the short session.
"If it had been a nice day, I'm sure we would have gone out at some point in time," Sharp said. "We thought it would be better to just chill and run tomorrow, hopefully. We're pretty squared away. There's always more to learn, always speed to be found, but you've also got to do it in the right conditions."
Twenty-eight drivers in 28 cars combined to turn 744 laps today at the Speedway. Practice resumes at 11 a.m. (EST) Tuesday.
Pole Day is Saturday. The 86th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 26.