IRL: Indy500: Day Four Report

- staff Indianapolis, IN (May 16, 2000) - Day four of practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500 opened under cloudy skies threatening on track activities for the day. Light rain stopped practice shortly before 1:00...

- staff

Indianapolis, IN (May 16, 2000) - Day four of practice for the 84th running of the Indianapolis 500 opened under cloudy skies threatening on track activities for the day. Light rain stopped practice shortly before 1:00 p.m. but bright sunshine soon returned over the Speedway helping to dry the track.

Practice was delayed for just under three hours as Buddy Lazier returned to the track at 3:51 p.m.

When the gun fired signaling the end of practice, Scott Sharp found himself atop the speed charts with a lap at 223.936 mph. Sharp's lap, the fastest of the event, was 14 one-hundredths of a second quicker than the previous best, set by Robby Gordon yesterday.

Sharp, who found an extra three miles per hour from yesterday, attributed his new found speed to working together with his teammate Mark Dismore. "Just yesterday we made the committed effort to get together as a team and develop the car together as a real two team ought to. We're quickly reaping the benefits of that I think."

Despite setting today's fastest lap ten minutes before practice ended, the Kelley Racing teammates started their concerted efforts late yesterday. "In the middle of yesterday we were having a bit of a rough going," said Sharp. "We weren't getting the type of results we wanted. We decided with only about an hour and a half, two hours left in the day, that we wanted to make some big changes. Those guys (Dismore's crew) jumped right in on my car, in the middle of working on their car, to help make it so we could get it done and get out. It really worked well for us."

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates, Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser were second and third fastest today. Montoya and Vasser both practiced in their primary cars with Monotya six one-hundredths of a second faster than Vasser. Montoya's best lap was recorded at 222.102 mph, while Vasser averaged 221.773.

"The car is really good," said Montoya, who only ran 27 laps today. "I am happy with the speed that we got in the half day we ran. We made some changes but didn't get a chance to get back out again. So we'll see how they run tomorrow."

Greg Ray's best lap, fourth fastest on the day, was recorded early this afternoon, just before practice was halted due to rain. His lap, at 221.740 mph, stood as fastest of the day until practice resumed three hours later.

Stephan Gregoire found two miles an hour from yesterday to place fifth on the day's speed charts. Gregoire, who was in the top ten on Saturday and Sunday, slipped to 15th yesterday. "Well, we did a good job," said Gregoire. "We improved our speed significantly to 221. So that was good. We just need to keep it up because it's going to be very competitive. I think with a better gear setup, we can hit 22. It's not perfect, but that's good."

Robby Gordon, fastest yesterday with a lap at 223.120 mph, was 11th on the speed charts today. "We did what we wanted to do," said Gordon, after recording a lap at 220.291 mph. "We wanted to try a couple of things and got to do that."

Jeret Schroeder received some 'hands on' help from his team owner today. When Tri Star Motorsports found their Dallara topping out around 217 mph, team co-owner Tony Stewart decided to give the car a quick test.

"We went backward yesterday, and we made some changes to free up the car," said Schroeder whose best lap in the No. 6 car was 217.402 mph. "Yes, it's good to get his feedback. But really, he misses this place, and he wanted to play."

"Well, I wanted to play a bit," Stewart said. "And I also felt that I was not working enough with Jeret. I wanted to get a feel for the car and feed that back to Jeret. We're not where we want to be, but Jeret is doing a good job."

After Stewart tested the car, he suggested a gear change.

NOTES: Barber Dodge driver Sarah Senske was high atop turn three today spotting for Dick Simon teammates Stephan Gregoire and Lyn St. James.

Several drivers have been strolling through the garage area over the past few days. Roberto Guerrero, Alex Baron, Davey Jones, P. J. Jones, John Paul Jr., Brad Noffsinger, Dave Darland and Jeff Andretti have attended practice at the Speedway this May.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby Gordon , Greg Ray , Buddy Lazier , Stephan Gregoire , Scott Sharp , Mark Dismore , Jimmy Vasser , Jeret Schroeder , Lyn St. James , Jeff Andretti , Davy Jones , Chip Ganassi , Brad Noffsinger , John Paul , Alex Baron
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing