IRL: Indy500: Day end report 2001-05-09

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 9, 2001 - Former Indy Racing champions Scott Sharp and Tony Stewart flexed their horsepower in the final hour of practice for the 85th Indianapolis 500 on May 9, taking the top two spots on the speed chart with the ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 9, 2001 - Former Indy Racing champions Scott Sharp and Tony Stewart flexed their horsepower in the final hour of practice for the 85th Indianapolis 500 on May 9, taking the top two spots on the speed chart with the fastest laps of the month.

1996 Indy Racing co-champion Sharp led with a lap of 39.7988 seconds, 226.137 mph in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. 1996-97 champion Stewart was second at 225.004 in the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

"They were fun, more than anything," Sharp said of his final, fast few laps of practice. "Obviously, that lap was great for numbers but not too realistic. I got a great tow from Airton Dare. He carried me all the way to the frontstretch. It was a pretty awesome draft I got."

Another Indy Racing champion, 1999 winner Greg Ray, was third fastest at 223.848 in the No. 2T Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk was fourth at 223.499 in the No. 5 Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, while Jaques Lazier was arguably the biggest surprise of the day in fifth at 223.310 in the No. 77 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria TeamXtreme G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Sharp's speedy show came just one day after his car encountered an electrical problem, causing a fire and substantial damage.

"The guys were up until 2 or 3 last night, fixing that," Sharp said. It was the second consecutive day that a Kelley Racing car was fastest. Sharp's teammate, Mark Dismore, was No. 1 on Tuesday at 224.823 in his No. 28T Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone but could muster only a top lap of 221.616 - 16th overall - today in the same car.

An event-best 23 cars exceeded 220 mph today, one more than Tuesday.

One of the highlights of the day came from a car that never approached triple-digit speed during its trip around the historic 2.5-mile oval. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford drove ceremonial laps in the Marmon Wasp that Ray Harroun raced to victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, to the delight of the sun-drenched crowd.

Rookie Casey Mears has not been cleared to drive by Indy Racing Director of Medical Services Dr. Henry Bock after an accident Tuesday. Mears was released Tuesday night from Methodist Hospital in good condition with a sore back and will be cleared to drive when his soreness subsides.

A total of 38 cars and 35 drivers turned 1,713 laps today. Practice resumes from noon-7 p.m. (EDT) Thursday. MBNA Pole Day is May 12; Race Day is May 27.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Casey Mears , Arie Luyendyk , Airton Daré , Mark Dismore , Jaques Lazier  , Chip Ganassi , Johnny Rutherford
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing