IRL: Indy 500: Team Menard Bump Day report

Meira Sets the Pace for Chevy, Qualifying at 227mph on Bump Day INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 18, 2003) -- Team Menard and rookie Vitor Meira set the pace for the Chevrolet teams during Bump Day at the Indianapolis 500. With a four-lap average speed...

Meira Sets the Pace for Chevy, Qualifying at 227mph on Bump Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 18, 2003) -- Team Menard and rookie Vitor Meira set the pace for the Chevrolet teams during Bump Day at the Indianapolis 500. With a four-lap average speed of 227.158 mph, Meira earned the fastest overall qualifying speed for a Chevy driver. Second fastest of the day, he will start 26th, lining up behind last Sunday's qualifiers.

"It's one of the biggest, best days I've ever had, in terms of emotions," Meira said. "It's really important to work that out and try not to be nervous. I try to just be calm and say, 'Be calm, be calm, be calm.' "

Meira, who successfully passed his rookie test on April 21st, only practiced three days this month, May 16, 17 and 18. He benefited from the team's work with Jaques Lazier, who qualified 20th last weekend.

"Everything turned out really good," Meira said. "At the beginning of the month, I was out of the car, and I was trying to learn as much as I could from a different point of view -- outside of the car. I was able to see everybody's mistakles and what everybody was doing. I'm just glad for Team Menard, Johns Manville and Chevrolet."

The 26-year-old Brazilian, Meira, drove four races for Team Menard last season, filling in for the injured Jaques Lazier. At Texas he won the pole position and earned his season-best finish of third. Working as a test driver for the team, this is his first race this season in the IRL IndyCar Series.

"What Vitor did is particularly gratifying," said team owner John Menard. "We worked pretty hard, all the guys have, literally up through last night, trying to get a little bit more horsepower. I think we found a few things, and Vitor put four really good laps together. He did not have a lot of time in the car. I think he's really to be admired and respected for putting together what he did in such a short period of time."

Meira will drive the No. 22 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone in the Indianapolis 500 on May 25. The race will be televised live on ABC and by the Indy Racing Radio Network. Live timing and scoring of all on-track activity can be found on www.indyracing.com.

One of the founding teams of the IRL IndyCar Series, Team Menard has two championships, 10 wins and an all-time record of 24 pole positions to its credit. Owned by John Menard, the Indianapolis-based team is supported by Menards, Johns Manville, Chevrolet, Menard Engine Group, Dallara, Firestone and Menard Cheever Technologies. For more information visit www.teammenard.com.

-tm-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jaques Lazier  , Vitor Meira