by motorsport.com staff Indianapolis, IN (May 25, 2000) - Juan Montoya set the fastest time in the final day of practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. Montoya, who will return to Nazareth, Penna. to compete in a CART race which...
by motorsport.com staff
Indianapolis, IN (May 25, 2000) - Juan Montoya set the fastest time in the final day of practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500. Montoya, who will return to Nazareth, Penna. to compete in a CART race which was postponed due to snow several weeks ago, will drive in his first Indianapolis 500 this Sunday.
"The car is really good," said Montoya, who recorded a lap at an average speed of 218.257 mph around the historic two and a half mile speedway. "It is very comfortable and very consistent. We made some final changes this morning. I think I've got a good race car now. We're just hoping for a good race and good weather for the weekend."
Montoya and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jimmy Vasser, who was fifth fastest today, will need some assistance in the weather department to complete two races in as many days. Montoya and Vasser will fly to Nazareth on Friday afternoon. The crew will leave Indianapolis at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning and head to the track to prepare the cars.
The drivers will fly back to Indianapolis immediately after the race, with the crews arriving several hours later.
"It would be understandable if this team hates me after this weekend, but as far as I can tell, they're having a blast," said Ganassi. "I'm proud of Team Target's efforts these past few days and everyone's attitude has been incredible. No matter what happens Saturday or Sunday, this has been a great experience for our team"
Eddie Cheever, 1998 Indianapolis 500 Champion, recorded the second fastest lap today with an average speed of 217.909 mph. Cheever, one of two drivers using the Infiniti engine this May, will start from tenth place on the grid on Sunday. "This day is more for the fans in the stands than it is for the drivers," said Cheever after parking his 2000 Dallara after only 18 laps of practice. "If you haven't got your race setup yet, I doubt like hell you will find it on Carburetion Day. We ran a few laps with our race engine, did all of the usual checks, and the No. 51 Excite@HomeInfiniti feels good."
Third fastest today was 1996 Indy 500 Champion Buddy Lazier, who will start from the16th position on Sunday. "We wish we were starting further up," Lazier said. We just hope Sunday is a good day for us. So much can happen. It's a great field."
Treadway Racing teammates Raul Boesel and Robby McGeHee were both in the top ten today. Boesel's lap at 217.303 mph was fast enough for fourth place on the day's speed charts while McGehee was seventh fastest today at 216.117 mph.
"Practice was pretty good," said Boesel after recording a total of 35 laps. "We're just shaking the car down, made a few runs with full tanks. We don't want to dial in completely because we think the weather may change on Sunday."
McGehee only turned 12 laps today. "We didn't want to use the equipment too much. The car is great."
Jason Leffler, third member of Treadway's trio of drivers, was busy practicing at Charlotte in his NASCAR Busch Grand National car today. Jimmy Kite warmed up Leffler's car, recording 11 laps in Leffler's No. 50.
"Jason is a buddy, and he is in Charlotte with his BGN deal," said Kite. We were just doing these guys a favor. I never pushed it. Never got it over 208 mph. I never really got fast enough to feel the setup. We were mostly just leak-checking."
In his own car, Kite was 13th fastest at a speed of 214.713.
Robby Gordon is another driver doing double duty this weekend. Gordon will race for 600 miles at Charlotte after completing the 500 mile race at Indianapolis. Gordon's best lap today, at 216.471 mph, placed him fifth on the day's speed charts.
Notes: All 33 starters were on track today, running 754 laps.
Walker Racing announced today an expansion of their Indy Racing Northern Light Series Program with driver Jeff Andretti. Andretti will make his IRL debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 15.
Two drivers, Eddie Cheever and Steve Knapp, will start the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500 using Infiniti powered race cars. Oldsmobile engines are currently undefeated in Indy Racing competition.
M&M's Colorworks will become part of the Team CAN effort in this year's race. Team CAN is associated with Bradley Motorsports and driver Buzz Calkins, who was sporting the team's new paint scheme in practice today. M&M's Colorworks is a collection of 21 custom colored M&M's Milk Chocolate Candies.
Pagan Racing announced today a partnership with Curb Agajanian Motorsports. As part of the association, Curb Records will adorn the engine cover of Richie Hearn's No.75.
Treadway Racing announced a partnership with Broadband Investment Group (BIG), a Missouri-based incubator supporting the development of early-stage broadband technology companies. BIG will sponsor the No. 50 entry of Jason Leffler during the Indianapolis 500, then move to the No. 5 car of Robby McGehee for the balance of the season.