BUT FOR ONLY 30 MINUTES WITH RICE AND BELL POSTING TOP TEN SPEEDS
Rain Plays Havoc Again With Indy 500 Field, But Weather Looks Better For Weekend
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team did a lot of sitting around and waiting Wednesday as practice runs were scheduled at the world’s most famous racing facility. Rain and heavy mist kept the track wet for most of the day as anxious teams worked with their respective crews and drivers to formulate a game plan for the rest of the week. With only 11 drivers qualified for the May 25 Indy 500, some 25 drivers will seek the 22 remaining starting spots this weekend. Qualifying is set for Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon each day.
Drivers conducted media interviews and signed autographs for the fans. At 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, the green flag finally fell and 29 pilots jumped at the chance to gain some valu- able track time.
In just 30 minutes, speeds climbed as pole winner Scott Dixon leading the way with a 222.834 miles per hour reading. Buddy Rice, who drove for just six laps, posted the seventh fastest speed overall at a 220.277 m.p.h. clocking in the No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara. Rice’s car did not make a qualifying attempt last weekend due to a mechanic problem. So the Rice squad will work on both qualifying and race day settings this week. Townsend Bell, who ran 222.397 in qualifying last Saturday but didn’t make the top eleven, clocked a 220.020 m.p.h. Wednesday in just 10 laps in the No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara. Bell’s mount, with associate sponsors EMU Australia and Herbalife, was set in race trim in Wednesday. But Bell was pleased with his initial runs and the No. 99 crew plans to make long runs in Thursday’s practice session. Milka Duno, attempting to make her second Indy 500, took her No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara for a couple of laps Wednesday as her squad wanted to have the Honda engine just warm up. Duno will run more competitive practice laps on Thursday.
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara): ”Just a lot of mist around the track today. We had on our driving suit and was ready to go. But the weather just wouldn’t cooperate. It was heavy humidity and the track finally got dry about 5 p.m. this afternoon. We rolled out the cars and they let us make a few laps under the caution. Finally, we ran a few laps and the car felt good. We didn’t want to run too hard with the track being so green from the rain. We’ll be ready now.”
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara): “Well, we did a number of media interviews today. We were up early today for some live morning television shows and then some live and taped radio interviews. Then we signed some autographs for the fans. But, overall, it is pretty frustrating for the crews and the drivers. We have gone through the cars and check every- thing. We did just out there at the end of the day and I felt that was important for our William Rast crew and myself. We wanted to get an idea of running in traffic and the car felt good. With the limited track time today, I think things went well.”
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara): “We just wanted to warm up the engine today. The track had all of the rubber washed off. So the track wasn’t in good condition. So we will plan to run many more laps on Thursday.”