WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 1, 2001) - Townsend Bell (DirecPC) Lola and his rookie Dorricott Racing teammate Jon Fogarty (Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola) set the pace Friday in the opening day of practice for Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights ...
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 1, 2001) - Townsend Bell (DirecPC) Lola and his rookie Dorricott Racing teammate Jon Fogarty (Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola) set the pace Friday in the opening day of practice for Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights Championship race at the Milwaukee Mile.
Bell was the top driver in both the morning and afternoon sessions and set the day's fastest overall lap in the second run at an average speed of 153.166 mph (24.256 seconds). Fogarty, making his first appearance at Milwaukee, was second fastest at an average speed of 151.951 mph (24.450 seconds) and fellow rookie Dan Wheldon was third quick at an average speed of 150.932 mph (24.615 seconds).
The day's activity began after a three-hour rain delay due to early morning showers. By the afternoon practice, the damp conditions had fully subsided and the sun was shining.
"The best part of this afternoon's practice is we have the car on the right course yet we still know it can go faster," Bell said. "I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about my times because I'm not. I'll very happy with how we've taken our testing data and continued to improve on it. It's just nice to know that we haven't peaked with the car but rather have more positive room ahead."
Fogarty has failed to finish the last two of the year's three races run this year but appears set for a turn around at Milwaukee.
"We have a good car," Fogarty said. "It's running a perfect neutral for Milwaukee. The car gives me more feedback the faster I go. That's the nature of racing but since the set-up is responding mostly neutral, I think I have a good idea of what the car's limit is. I can better tell my engineer how any little change directly or indirectly affects the car knowing the aerodynamics of the car are directly proportional to whatever it is we adjust in the set-up. Now it's more a matter of avoiding mistakes without running too conservative."
Behind Wheldon, rookie Kristian Kolby, Mario Dominguez, championship leader Derek Higgins and Dorricott's third driver Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) filled the next four positions.
"Believe it or not, my best time this afternoon was nearly the same as when I tested," said Faulkner who participated in an Indy Lights group test here May 15 and 16. "However, my time went 'pear-shape' on the second test day for reasons I couldn't figure. Sometimes it's more about the driver than the car. You have to be confident enough to glide the car through a track like this. You have to find a rhythm. It's not a case of putting together a flying lap or two. I think you have to build a good foundation before you find the consistent quick laps. Today's first session was more a follow-up of my poor test day. At least I learned what not to do so this afternoon's practice was fruitful. I was able to lower my times and better understand how to consistently run quick laps at Milwaukee. I ran on old tires the entire session. They have nearly one hundred miles on them. Perhaps new tires will more a positive difference but practice is all about making progress. We've made it."
Dominguez did well to post the day's fifth fastest time despite missing the morning session with a leak from an oil line fitting.
Cory Witherill (WSA Healthcare Lola), fresh off of finishing last weekend's Indianapolis 500, missed the afternoon session when he hit the Turn Two wall late in the morning practice. Witherill was uninjured but his Indy Regency Lola could not be repaired in time to be in the afternoon run. He is expected to be on track for final practice Saturday morning at 8 a.m.
Debuting rookie Matt Halliday (Conquest Racing Lola) was 10th fastest of 12 cars entered at an average speed of 144.628 mph (26.688 seconds)
Sunday's race will be telecast on ESPN2 in a revised time slot at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. CT).
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