Rice, Bell Prepared ...

For Strong Qualifying


Rice And Bell Ready To Challenge For 1st Day Starting Positions Saturday

The Indy cars were finally back on the track Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

But it was just for three hours as another rain storm hit the famed 2.5-mile oval track. But despite another downpour late in the afternoon, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team were able to record some solid speeds in preparation for Saturday’s qualification runs in 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.   

Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 pole and race winner, took his No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara to a speed of 223.593 miles per hour in just 16 laps Friday afternoon but Rice was pleased with his car’s performance. 

Rice, entering his fifth Indy 500, expects to have a strong run in Saturday’s qualifying which begins at noon.  Rice is hopeful of making the top eleven on the first day of time trials, as only eleven drivers will secure starting positions tomorrow.

Townsend Bell, attempting to make his second Indy 500, looked impressive in his No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara with a speed of 223.518 m.p.h. in just 14 laps.  Bell’s machine, with new asso- ciate sponsors EMU Australia and Herbalife coming onboard, has been a hit with spectators this week with its unique green and orange paint scheme. 

Unfortunately, Bell looked to have a faster run Friday when another car moved into his path and slowed his lap speed. Milka Duno, one of three women trying to make this year’s 500, improved her speed Friday with a clocking of 219.030 m.p.h. in the No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara.  Duno, who was a rookie at Indy last year, plays “Kellie Gearbox” in the new SPEED RACER movie that debut today.  Duno has been a focal point for media members this week at Indy.   


BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara): “We were able to get some clean laps late in our runs.  With all of the drafting out there, it’s hard to tell who is fast by themselves.  There are some very stout cars out there though.  But we were able to run pretty close to them.  The Ganassi cars are really strong.  They should be the favorites for the pole.  I thought it would take a 225 plus to win the pole.  But now I think it will be a 224.5 to win it.  The conditions were good today.  So there were some good speeds.  By yourself and running four laps, I think you’ll see the number drop.  Both Townsend (Bell) and I have been working well together and we ran speeds very close today.  I think we both have a good shot as first day qualifiers.  That is our goal.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara): “I very pleased with our car.  I only got in two runs today before the rain hit. Buddy (Rice) and I are on the same page with the setup and we like our cars.  It is great working with Buddy.  His feedback is so good and we have been able to exchange information freely.  Out of the box today, I ran a 223.5 on older tires.  We put on new Firestones and I was on a hot lap.  But Ryan Hunter Reay had a problem and slowed right in front of me.  So I didn’t get the flying lap I wanted.  I felt like I was at least in the 224 plus range.  I think Buddy and I are looking for a top eleven qualifying spot.  It would be great to qualify on the first day.”

MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara): We have a better car than Tuesday. We've made great improvements for today's practice, and my team is working very hard to increase the car's speed and performance.  I think we’ll con-tinue to improve during the weekend.” 

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