IRL: Practice report 2001 May 7

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Indianapolis, IN (May 7, 2001) - For the second consecutive day Greg Ray set the fastest time while practicing for the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500. Ray has driven two different cars, the No. 2T and No.

By David Reininger - Motorsport.com

Indianapolis, IN (May 7, 2001) - For the second consecutive day Greg Ray set the fastest time while practicing for the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500. Ray has driven two different cars, the No. 2T and No. 22, since practice started yesterday afternoon. The No. 2T Johns Manville car has been fastest both days, with an opening day speed of 224.301 mph.

"Conditions were good yesterday evening," said Ray. "We had been running pretty quick. We had a lighter fuel load, a new set of tires and conditions came right."

After yesterday's practice session ended, Northern Light Series officials required Ray's Team Menard entry to pass a random technical inspection. Not only did the car pass with flying colors, the engine was the same Oldsmobile engine used to power Ray to his victory at Atlanta last week.

"The engine from Atlanta had about 75 miles on it before the race," said Ray. "Twice this year, over the course of testing and racing, we've put almost 700 miles on a motor. When they pull them apart they look really good. That's pretty exciting when you have a good race engine that looks almost brand new when you're done with it."

Ray turned 21 laps in the No. 2T car today, recording his best lap at 222.976 mph.

Ray took the No. 22 car out for six laps today, setting the third fastest lap of the day with a speed of 221.130 mph.

"I was pleasantly surprised with the 22 car. I had a feeling that I wouldn't like the setup, but it was coming off the corner strong. I was pleased with how it handled."

Arie Luyendyk, driver of the Meijer No. 5 entered by Treadway Hubbard Racing, turned 60 laps around the 2.5-mile oval today, second only to his teammate Felipe Giaffone, who completed 77 laps. Luyendyk's best lap, which came on his 24th time around the speedway, was good enough for second place on the day's speed chart. Luyendyk improved his speed by nearly two miles per hour over yesterday by averaging 221.340 mph on his best lap.

"So far things have gone well," said Luyendyk, who has won the Indy 500 twice. "I'm having fun and I'm making laps that make sense."

Luyendyk returns to the Indianapolis 500 after announcing the 1999 Indy 500 as his last race. "I stayed in shape by racing shifter karts, and I tested at Vegas and here. But yesterday I still hurt in some new places."

The third driver on the day's speed chart was Eliseo Salazar, driver of the Harrah's sponsored A.J. Foyt entry. "I'm delighted today," said Salazar after recording a lap at 220.634 mph. "We have a brand new car. We ran one car the first three races, and then we got this one out and went 218 pretty easy, and then we pushed it some."

Scott Sharp and Eddie Cheever rounded out the top five drivers on the day.

Michael Andretti made his first appearance of the event, recording a lap at 217.636 mph. "I think the goals were just to get settled in a little bit," said Andretti, who was the 18th fastest driver on the day. "We had something to go by with what Sam (Hornish Jr.) had done yesterday."

Hornish was tenth fastest on the day with a lap at 219.185 mph.

Chip Ganassi sidelined his regular CART drivers today, announcing Jimmy Vasser and Tony Stewart as the drivers of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Oldsmobile-powered G Force chassis. Vasser was the fastest of the pair, turning a lap at 219.381 mph, nearly four miles per hour faster than Stewart's 215.474.

"We just knocked the cobwebs off," said Stewart. "We didn't set the world on fire and we didn't get too many laps in."

"We have to get the car flat. By that, I mean we need to get it where I can flatfoot it all around here. Right now I'm lifting a lot, so I'm not as quick as Jimmy."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Felipe Giaffone , Eddie Cheever , Eliseo Salazar , Scott Sharp , Arie Luyendyk , Michael Andretti , Chip Ganassi , A.J. Foyt
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing