IRL: Indy500: Pole day report

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 12, 2001 - The wait was worth it at Indy for Scott Sharp. Sharp, from Indianapolis, won the MBNA Pole for the 85th Indianapolis 500 on May 12 with a four-lap average of 226.037 mph in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive...

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 12, 2001 - The wait was worth it at Indy for Scott Sharp.

Sharp, from Indianapolis, won the MBNA Pole for the 85th Indianapolis 500 on May 12 with a four-lap average of 226.037 mph in the No. 8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. It was the first Indy pole of Sharp's career.

The pole came after a wait of nearly six hours for Sharp. He posted his run just 72 minutes after qualifying started and was forced to watch and wait while 23 other drivers made attempts to knock him from the top spot. "The emotion, the anxiety, the nervousness, certainly it is the toughest day of the month if not the year," Sharp said. "I just can't say enough about this team. "Our goal wasn't the pole, really. If we got it, that was great. It would be great if we were on the front row."

1996 Indy Racing co-champion Sharp covered four laps of the 2.5-mile oval - 10 miles total - in 2 minutes, 39.2658 seconds to earn his third career Indy Racing Northern Light Series pole.

Last year's pole winner, Greg Ray, qualified second at 225.194 in the No. 2T Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Ray made his run with just 49 minutes remaining in qualifying after waving off an earlier attempt after just one lap.

Robby Gordon qualified third at 224.994 in the No. 41 Team Conseco/Foyt Racing/RCR Childress Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. Gordon made his run with just 68 minutes remaining in qualifications.

Twenty-seven cars qualified for the 33-car field today. Second-day qualifying will take place from 1-7 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. Bump Day, the final day of qualifications, is May 20.

Sharp's pole was the pinnacle of a strong day for Kelley Racing. Sharp's teammate, Mark Dismore, qualified fourth at 224.964 in the No. 28 Delphi Automotive Systems/Bryant Heating & Cooling Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone.

Gil de Ferran qualified fifth at 224.406 in the No. 66 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone, putting team owner Roger Penske back safely into the race for the first time since 1994. de Ferran's teammate, Helio Castroneves, also qualified. Penske's team failed to qualify in 1995 with drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser Jr. and did not participate in the race from 1996-2000.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, the first driver to make an attempt today, qualified sixth at 224.257. Other past Indy winners to make the field were 1996 champion Buddy Lazier, 10th at 224.190 in the No. 91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Life Fitness/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone; two-time winner Al Unser Jr., 19th at 221.615 in the No. 3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak Budweiser G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone; and 1998 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., 25th at 220.513 in the #51 Excite@ Home Indy Race Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

1996-97 Indy Racing champion Tony Stewart qualified seventh at 224.248 in the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone. His teammate, Jimmy Vasser, qualified 12th at 223.455 in the No. 44 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Oldsmobile/Firestone. With two cars in the field, team owner Chip Ganassi has decided to bring his full-time rookie drivers, Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian, to the Speedway on Sunday to make qualification attempts in Stewart and Vasser's backup cars.

-IRNLS/IMS-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby Gordon , Greg Ray , Eddie Cheever , Al Unser Jr. , Buddy Lazier , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Mark Dismore , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Nicolas Minassian , Emerson Fittipaldi , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing