INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 - Greg Ray reigned supreme for the sixth time in eight Indianapolis 500 practices this month, topping the daily speed chart May 17 at 222.283 mph. It was the second consecutive day that Ray led in his No. 2...
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 - Greg Ray reigned supreme for the sixth time in eight Indianapolis 500 practices this month, topping the daily speed chart May 17 at 222.283 mph.
It was the second consecutive day that Ray led in his No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone as he prepares to start from the middle of the front row on Race Day, May 27. Former Indy Racing champion Ray led Wednesday at 222.266.
1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat was second fastest during today's rain-abbreviated practice at 220.866 in his No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone. He was the fastest non-qualified driver in the practice, trying to find enough speed to make the 33-car field on Bump Day this Sunday.
Twelve-time Indy starter Raul Boesel was third fastest at 220.518 in the No. 5T Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone - Arie Luyendyk's primary car -- in his first day on track.
"Indianapolis is so special, and every opportunity you have to run here is wonderful," Boesel said. "It's so special. I'm sure I'm going to improve myself the next few days."
Two of the three Infiniti-powered cars in the field rounded out the top five. Robbie Buhl was fourth at 220.222 in the No. 24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone, while Scott Goodyear was fifth at 219.959 in the #52 Thermos* Grill2Go* Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.
Eliseo Salazar was next at 218.891 in the No. 14 Harrah's A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone in his first practice since his engine failed on the final lap of his strong qualifying run Sunday, forcing him to try and qualify on Bump Day.
Since then, Salazar and his wife, Kari, welcomed their first child, a son named Eliseo VI, on Tuesday morning in Miami. That capped a whirlwind 48 hours of emotion for Salazar, second in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series point standings.
"I always say that racing is a bit like the checkered flag, you have black and white," Salazar said. "We had the blackest moment last week. The birth of Eliseo the sixth happened Tuesday at 3:53 (a.m.), and that was a turnaround for us.
"It's not a question of having the speed. It's just a question that you get spooked that something is going to happen. Especially at Indy, you can never expect everything to be normal. Things like this happen, and we just expect to correct them on Sunday."
Twenty-six drivers turned 786 laps in 26 cars today, as morning showers delayed the start of practice by three hours and 37 minutes. The only incident occurred when Billy Boat brushed the inside retaining wall on the back straightaway after a spin. Boat was unhurt.
Practice continues from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (EST) Friday.