IRL: Wheldon leads hot Indy field on Tuesday

Temperatures soared, as did speeds, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday (May 8th) as the Indy Racing League regulars returned to the track for practice prior to the 91st running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Chip Ganassi Racing's...

Temperatures soared, as did speeds, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday (May 8th) as the Indy Racing League regulars returned to the track for practice prior to the 91st running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Dan Wheldon rose to the top of the timesheets with a best time of 39. 9868 seconds, the only time of the day to go sub-40, at 225.074 mph around the 2.5 mile Brickyard.

"I have to thank the team for preparing the car. They worked hard to make it right, and it showed. We were a bit rusty at the beginning, but getting back up to speed comes with time," said Wheldon later.

"It's still a matter of getting comfortable. That's what you need to win a race around here. We're still working to get the car comfortable."

Behind Wheldon came Team Penske's Helio Castroneves and Vision's Tomas Scheckter.

Fourth-quick on Tuesday was Andretti/Green Racing's Tony Kanaan, who took turns driving other AGR cars throughout the day and ended up with multiple times on the sheets. He was, however, fastest in the number eleven Seven-Eleven machine that is his home during the racing season. Kanaan's 224.822 mph was the best of the five-man AGR crew on this day.

Fifth-fastest was Scott Dixon, followed by Danica Patrick who put in a lap of 224.457 in her beautiful black and blue Motorola car. She was ahead of Ryan Briscoe, who has put the Luczo Dragon Racing Team on the map quickly in only its third day of operation in the Indy Racing League.

Next best was defending 500 champion Sam Hornish, Jr, followed by Dario Franchitti and Marco Andretti.

Vitor Meira of Panther Racing, and Michael Andretti, and Buddy Rice aboard the A1 Team USA/Dreyer & Reinbold Honda rounded out the top thirteen, all of whom are separated by no more than half a second.

The only incidents of the day came at the expense of Jon Herb and the Racing Professionals Team. Early in the afternoon Herb lost a mirror from his car, bringing out the yellow for clearing of debris. Shortly before 4 PM Herb again brought the track action to a temporary close when he crashed his car.

The remainder of the field continued to work on race setup and mechanical issues. Milka Duno again turned laps, and finished with a best speed of 219.380 mph. Her time was slowest of the three women entries (Patrick, Sarah Fisher, and herself) but was better than no fewer than seven of the men (Davey Hamilton, Jeff Simmons, Buddy Lazier, Kosuke Matsuura, Herb, Marty Roth and Al Unser Jr) who took the track today.

On-track action begins anew at Noon on Wednesday as teams continue to prepare for qualifications which commence on Pole Day, Saturday May 12th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IRL will attempt once again to carry out its new qualifying "Fastest Eleven" format on Saturday after being washed out by thunderstorms each of the previous two years.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , Jon Herb , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Helio Castroneves , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Al Unser Sr. , Buddy Rice , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Kosuke Matsuura , Jeff Simmons , Chip Ganassi , Danica Patrick , Sam Hornis , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Dragon Racing