IRL: Indy500: Juan Montoya fastest in final practice

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 25, 2000 - Rookie Juan Montoya was fastest in the final practice before the 84th Indianapolis 500 on Coors Carburetion Day today. Montoya, driving the ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 25, 2000 - Rookie Juan Montoya was fastest in the final practice before the 84th Indianapolis 500 on Coors Carburetion Day today.

Montoya, driving the #9 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, turned a lap of 218.257 mph. He will start second in Sunday's Indianapolis 500, in the middle of the first row.

Greg Ray, the PPG Pole Award winner, was ninth fastest at 215.560 in the #1 Team Conseco/Quaker State/Moen/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. "The car is really good," said Montoya, defending CART series champion. "It is very comfortable to drive 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 his Target/Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jimmy Vasser, will have a busy weekend. The two are scheduled to compete in a 200-lap CART race on the 1-mile Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway on Saturday and then fly back to Indianapolis for Sunday's 84th Indianapolis 500, which starts at 11 a.m. (EST).

Two former Indianapolis 500 winners had strong runs in the Coors Carb Day practice. 1998 winner Eddie Cheever Jr. was second fastest at 217.909 in the #51 Excite@Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. Buddy Lazier, the 1996 champion, was third at 217.728 in the #91 Delta Faucet/Coors Light/Tae-Bo/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Raul Boesel was fourth fastest in the Treadway Racing #55 EPSON G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone at 217.303, and Vasser was fifth at 216.845 in the #10 Target G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

The third front-row starter, Eliseo Salazar, was 15th fastest at 214.038 in the #11 Rio A.J. Foyt Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr., the third former "500" winner qualified for the race, was 23rd fastest at 211.957. Unser will start 18th Sunday in the #3 Galles ECR Racing Tickets.com Starz Encore Superpak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Rookie Sarah Fisher, who will start 19th in the Indianapolis 500, registered the 25th fastest speed of the day at 211.736 in the #15 Walker Racing Cummins Special, which suited Fisher just fine.

"The car is really comfortable at 210 or 211," said Fisher. "That's where we think the race pace will be come Sunday. We have a terrific cool-weather setup. If it's cooler Sunday, that's good because it will be more to my liking anyway."

Current weather forecasts for Sunday predict cool conditions, with a high temperature around 70 degrees and a chance of scattered showers in the morning hours.

Panther Racing and driver Scott Goodyear won the $80,000 Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge, defeating Treadway Racing and driver Robby McGehee by 1.53 seconds in the final round. The Treadway team completed a faster pit stop in the final round but was assessed a three-second penalty because a tire rolled out of the pit box, a Challenge rules violation.

The Panther team earned $42,500 for the championship, $5,000 of which will be donated to the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis in Panther's name. Panther also won the Coors Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge in 1998.

-IRMLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Robby McGehee , Sarah Fisher , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Eliseo Salazar , Buddy Lazier , Scott Goodyear , Jimmy Vasser , Raul Boesel , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing