OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Friday, May 21, 1999 RAY AND OLDSMOBILE RULE SPEED CHART IN FINAL INDY 500 PRACTICE Team Menard Continues 227 mph Pace with IRL Aurora V8 INDIANAPOLIS, May 21, 1999 - Practice made perfect for Team Menard ...
OLDSMOBILE MOTORSPORT REPORT: Friday, May 21, 1999
RAY AND OLDSMOBILE RULE SPEED CHART IN FINAL INDY 500 PRACTICE
Team Menard Continues 227 mph Pace with IRL Aurora V8
INDIANAPOLIS, May 21, 1999 - Practice made perfect for Team Menard driver Greg Ray today as he ran the fastest speed in the last full day of practice for the 83rd Indianapolis 500. A fast lap at 227.175 mph established both Ray and Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 as frontrunners for the pole position. Pole Day qualifying will begin at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning after a final two-hour warm-up.
Ray topped the speed chart for the fifth time in seven days of practice. His 227.192 mph speed on Thursday was the fastest lap ever recorded at the 2.5-mile Speedway by a naturally aspirated IRL car. He enjoyed a 1.04 mph advantage today over Arie Luyendyk, who turned the second fastest lap at 226.131 mph. Ray ran his fastest lap shortly after noon, while many of the other fast times were turned in cooler "happy hour" conditions at the end of the day.
"Last year we had one car and two motors, and that was it," Ray recalled. "Today we have three cars that are all probably capable of being on the pole. That presents a whole new set of problems - but they're good problems to have."
"We will have different engines for qualifying than we will have for racing," revealed team owner John Menard. "Having our own in-house engine program gives us an advantage. We can go back tonight and immediately look at everything that happened today. I'm blessed with Butch Meyer, who is one of the hardest working engine guys around. Butch and his engine department worked all night on a couple of projects we hope will pay off. I think we have an advantage because there is close communication between the driver, crew chief, and the engine builder. On the other hand, we don't have as much feedback as an engine builder like Brayton that has a lot of teams running their motors."
* Oldsmobile engines dominated the final day of practice, running the 11 fastest times. The fastest Infiniti driver was 4.182 mph off Ray's pace. Forty-two cars were on the track, completing a total of 1,748 laps. The four fastest drivers all exceeded Billy Boat's official track record for naturally aspirated IRL cars that stands at 224.573 mph. Seventeen car/driver combinations topped 222 mph in practice today, and 31 were over 220 mph.
* Fast Friends: Treadway Racing teammates Arie Luyendyk and Sam Schmidt were ranked second and third respectively at the close of practice. Two-time Indy 500 winner Luyendyk, who is making his farewell appearance in an Indy car, ran 226.131 mph in Treadway Racing's Oldsmobile Dallara. Stablemate Sam Schmidt was right behind Arie at 225.468 mph. Luyendyk has been the picture of consistency since opening day: He has been among the four fastest drivers on six of the seven days of practice.
"I'm really happy with the way things are going," said Luyendyk, who gave Oldsmobile its first Indy 500 victory in 1997. "This year we have tremendous reliability with our engines. No glitches."
* Looking Sharp: Scott Sharp claimed the fourth and fifth fastest spots today with a pair of Kelley Racing Oldsmobile Dallaras. Sharp was clocked at 224.792 mph in his back-up Delphi Automotive Systems entry, and his primary car stopped the timers at 224.159 mph. Sharp's teammate, Mark Dismore, ran 100 laps today after smacking the wall on Wednesday.
* Foyt Fights Back: A.J. Foyt's fortunes improved today as both of his drivers showed impressive speed. Reigning Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack was sixth fastest at 224.087 in A.J's Power Team Oldsmobile Dallara. 1998 Indy 500 polewinner Billy Boat rebounded from a rough start of practice this week to post the seventh fastest speed at 223.847 mph with new Compaq logos appearing on his Oldsmobile Dallara's sidepods.
* Today's Aurora Factoid: At 10,300 rpm, an IRL Aurora V8 consumes almost 1,000 cubic feet of air in one minute - a volume equivalent to the air inside an average bedroom.
* TOP 10 DRIVERS OF THE DAY Pos/Car # Driver Entry Engine Speed 1. 2 Greg Ray Team Menard Oldsmobile 227.175 2. 5 Arie Luyendyk Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 226.131 3. 99 Sam Schmidt Treadway Racing Oldsmobile 225.468 4. 8T Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 224.792 5. 8 Scott Sharp Kelley Racing Oldsmobile 224.159 6. 14 Kenny Brack A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 224.087 7. 11T Billy Boat A.J. Foyt Ent. Oldsmobile 223.847 8. 4T Scott Goodyear Panther Racing Oldsmobile 223.314 9. 91 Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn Rcng. Oldsmobile 223.314 10. 20 Tyce Carlson Blueprint-Immke Oldsmobile 223.137
Motorsport News International's ISP of Choice in Indianapolis is **** WebNet **** ** Phone 1-888-WEB-NET-8 ** * http://www.wnol.net * firstname.lastname@example.org *