IRL: Sharp fastest again in day four of Indy 500 practice

INDIANAPOLIS (May 8, 2002) - Speeds were down on day four of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 as Scott Sharp made his second appearance atop the speed charts with a lap at 228.350 mph. Sharp's best lap today is the third fastest of the ...

INDIANAPOLIS (May 8, 2002) - Speeds were down on day four of practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 as Scott Sharp made his second appearance atop the speed charts with a lap at 228.350 mph. Sharp's best lap today is the third fastest of the event.

Laurent Redon's lap from yesterday, at 229.808 mph, still stands as the fastest of the event. Redon was second fastest today, showing the muscle of the Infiniti engine once again with a lap at 228.046 mph.

Although an Infiniti-powered car has recorded the fastest lap of the event, the Ilmor prepared Chevrolet engines have shown remarkable speed, taking three of the top five spots today.

Ilmor Engineering, which prepares the Chevrolet engines for the Kelley Racing cars of Sharp and Al Unser Jr, and the Team Penske cars of Castroneves and Gil de Ferran, suffered from a lack of power in pre-season testing and the 400 mile race at the California Speedway in March.

Castroneves and Unser Jr. were third and fourth today, respectively.

"We're making steady progress day by day and picking up speed each time we're on track," said Castroneves. "That's been our plan from the beginning: take our time, work through our program step by step and continue to improve the car."

Bruno Junqueira made his fourth straight appearance in the top five with a lap at 227.813 mph. "What is encouraging is that we are fast all by ourselves," said Junqueira. "That's what we've been trying to do, simulate a qualifying run. It looks like it might rain again tomorrow so I'm glad that we were able to get some good laps in today."

Just behind Junqueira was 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack, sixth fastest on the day with his best effort of the event at 227.573 mph. Brack shaved over three-tenths of a second from his previous best. "We still have a lot of work to do on the Target car, but it's starting to come around," Brack said. "We were sixth fastest today and that is close to where I think we need to be."

Rounding out the top ten on the day were Robbie Buhl in seventh, followed by Felipe Giaffone, Tony Kanaan and Alex Barron.

Kanaan, ninth fastest on the day, set his best lap using his teammate's car. When Kanaan struggled in his No. 17 Mo Nunn entry he hopped into Giaffone's No. 21T backup car and immediately turned a lap over 226 mph. "Thanks to Felipe for making my day. Actually, making my week. We've been struggling a little bit with my car so I just wanted to try Felipe's backup car to see what we could do. Within six laps, I got up to within a tenth of a mile an hour of his speed, so that proves we have work to do on my car."

Practice continues on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. local time.

Notes from the 86th Indianapolis 500:

P.J. Jones was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a fracture of the C-6 vertebrae. Jones was involved in a practice accident on Tuesday, making contact with the outside SAFER Barrier before slamming into the inside guardrail.

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Raul Boesel has been officially named as the driver of the No. 2 Team Menard entry, replacing P.J. Jones who was injured during practice on Tuesday.

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In an announcement made this morning, Sarah Fisher has been named to drive the second Dreyer and Reinbold Infiniti-powered entry. Primary sponsorship on the No. 23 car is from Allegra, a seasonal allergy medicine produced by Aventis Pharmaceuticals. Fisher's car will sport associate sponsorship from Raybestos Brakes, Purex Detergent and ATA Airlines.

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Sixty cars are now at the Speedway and 59 have passed technical inspection. Fifty-two cars and 37 drivers have recorded a total of 4,196 laps at the Speedway.

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Tomas Scheckter turned his first laps of the event after serving a three-day suspension for "unsportsmanlike conduct." Scheckter's best lap was recorded at 225.803 mph during the last hour of practice.

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Check out www.janetguthrie.com to learn more about the career of Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. Throughout the span of her career, Guthrie competed in Indy cars, NASCAR and sports cars.

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Due to the rain, the Coors Pit Stop Challenge Time Trials, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. this morning, were postponed to Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Sarah Fisher , Felipe Giaffone , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Bruno Junqueira , Raul Boesel , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Alex Barron , Laurent Redon , Al Unser Sr. , P.J. Jones , Mo Nunn
Teams Team Penske