Ryan Briscoe paced a frenetic practice day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as 35 cars combined to turn 2,628 laps in preparation for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.
Thursday’s session was the first significant practice time since May 9. Rain washed out all activity on May 11, including Second Day Qualifying, and limited green flag time to 30 minutes on May 14. The track was closed May 12-13. Briscoe, who qualified third in the No. 6 Team Penske machine May 10, lapped the 2.5-mile oval in 40.2311 seconds, 223.708 mph. His teammate, Helio Castroneves, was second-fastest at 223.284 mph, and pole sitter Scott Dixon was third (223.192 mph).
Among the 24 drivers who have not yet qualified for the 22 remaining starting positions, Will Power topped the chart (sixth overall). Power’s best lap was 222.657 mph.
With an uncertain forecast for the scheduled six-hour practice, teams wasted no time getting in their work. Twenty-six cars were on track within the first 10 minutes of the green flag. A light rain began falling late in the afternoon, ending practice 18 minutes early.
*** Indiana Pacers forward-guard Danny Granger was the honorary starter of today’s practice. DANNY GRANGER: “It's unbelievable how fast they drive those cars. I've never experienced anything like that. I got kind of dizzy when the first one was coming at me so fast. I kind of flinched because I wanted to make sure I didn't fall onto the track. It's amazing, it really is. You have to respect them. When I went around in the Pace Car, it's very hard to control that car when it's going that fast. I couldn't do it. I have a lot of respect for race car drivers and their abilities. There's no possible way I could fit in one of those cars. I barely fit in the Corvette, and that was a Pace Car. It was an exciting, scary experience. It's just amazing to be that close to the Indy 500 cars. I've never been that close before. You just don't get to do that every day. When I was in the Pace Car, I was getting sick to my stomach, and we were only going 100 miles an hour.” (Do you follow a ny IndyCar Series drivers?): “I know Tomas Scheckter. I'm pretty good friends with him, so every time I watch a race, I watch him.” *** XM Satellite Radio will air extensive live coverage of the 92nd Indianapolis 500. The 500-Mile Race can be heard on the IndyCar Series Racing channel (XM channel 145) starting with a pre-race show at noon (ET) May 25. Qualifying May 17-18 will be carried on Ch. 145, along with May 23 Carb Day events -- including the Firestone Freedom 100 and the IMS Radio Network show “Indy Live.” A full list of dates and times are online atxmradio.com/irl.
Andretti Green Racing drivers Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Hideki Mutoh will join team co-owner Michael Andretti live from the Speedway for a special edition of their weekly XM radio show “Andretti Green Racing Hour” on May 21 (7-8 p.m. ET on XM Sports Nation, XM Channel 144).
XM Sports Nation has daily coverage of the Indy 500, led by “Powershift” hosted by Joe Castello (8-10 p.m. ET weeknights on XM 144). Castello will host the show live from the Speedway on May 22 and 23, and he will host special editions of the show at noon May 24 and 11 a.m. May 25.
*** The No. 98 CURB Records/hh gregg/Real Power Beck Motorsports car driven by Roger Yasukawa carried the logo of the National MPS Society on its sidepods during practice in recognition of International MPS Awareness Day. It is a day for families and medical professionals to celebrate and remember people with mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) diseases -- a family of rare diseases that occur because of the body’s inability to produce specific enzymes. Founded in 1974, the National MPS Society seeks to find cures for MPS and related diseases, and provide support for affected individuals and their families through research, advocacy and awareness. *** The Indiana Section of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will present the 42nd annual BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award at 10 a.m. Friday, May 16 in the Economaki Press Conference Room at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center. The award honors early racing pioneer Louis Schwitzer and acknowledges individuals with the courage and passion to explore and develop new concepts in racing technology. The winner earns $10,000, with an additional $1,000 scholarship to the engineering school of the winner’s choice, doubling that amount if the winner was a past Formula SAE participant. This year’s BorgWarner Louis Schwitzer Award candidates: •Variable Ratio Rack and Pinion Steering Technology – Bishop Steering Technology •Paddle Shift System – Xtrac/Magaline/Honda •Micro-Channel Heat Exchanger – Mezzo Technologies BorgWarner sponsors this prestigious $10,000 award.
*** The fourth annual Latino Swing Golf Classic is scheduled for May 16 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. Presented by Latino Community Development, the event raises funds for Latino families that are in need throughout the state of Indiana. IndyCar Series drivers Mario Dominguez and Milka Duno will participate in the morning.
*** Indianapolis 500 veteran Sarah Fisher spoke this morning on behalf of the Indiana Click It or Ticket seat-belt law enforcement program.
SARAH FISHER: “The month of May is a month that is synonymous with racing. A longtime tradition that evokes pride and the spirit of sportsmanship, the Indianapolis 500 is more than an event for me. It's my life. That's why, as a professional driver, when I'm driving in my personal vehicle, I make buckling up my first defense against injury, both on the track and on Indiana's roadways. Since safety behind the wheel is paramount for both myself and my team, I urge you to put the same amount of importance in your own safety whether you're on the road, particularly during this time of year, as many of you will travel to and from the race, to celebrate with family and friends on this great Memorial Day holiday. What better way to continue Indiana's great racing tradition than to put safety first whether we're in a race vehicle or on the streets. By buckling up wh en we hit the road, it greatly increases our chances of crossing the finish line first and arriving alive. So remember, unless you want to risk a ticket, or even worse, your life, buckle up Indiana, every time. Click it or Ticket.”
*** Twenty-seven people camped out overnight on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 14, and another 30 are expected tonight as part of Wheeler Mission’s Operation Restoration, a program to raise funds for rehabilitative programming at the homeless shelter in downtown Indianapolis. Among the campers May 14 were Tony George, CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and his wife, Laura; Indiana Pacers coach Jim O’Brien; Indianapolis Indians general manager Cal Burleson; and Jerry Throgmartin, president of H.H. Gregg. High-profile individuals will camp at the Speedway every night from May 14-18. Each night is sponsored at a minimum of $50,000.
*** Thirty-five cars were on track today, turning 2,628 laps, most of any day this month and 31 percent of the month’s total. Previously, the most laps on a single day was 1,471 by 32 cars on Saturday, May 10.
FASTEST SPEEDS OF THE DAY: Pos. Car Name Speed 1. 6T Ryan Briscoe 223.708 mph 2. 3T Helio Castroneves 223.284 mph 3. 9 Scott Dixon 223.192 mph 4. 11 Tony Kanaan 222.880 mph 5. 12 Tomas Scheckter 222.804 mph
FASTEST SPEEDS BY NON-QUALIFIED DRIVERS:
Pos. Car Name Speed 1. 8 Will Power 222.657 mph 2. 24 John Andretti 222.474 mph 3. 18 Bruno Junqueira 222.303 mph 4. 15 Buddy Rice 222.252 mph 5. 33 E.J. Viso 222.108 mph
INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES: MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Indiana Jones presented by Blockbuster): “I think we had a tough day today, but you have those kinds of days at the Speedway. We had the same balance problem all day today that we had during our run yesterday, no matter what we seemed to throw at it. We have to hit the books tonight and work as a team and see what we can do to make the Indiana Jones/Blockbuster car handle a bit better.” TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): “It was a good day for the 7-Eleven team since we got a lot of good running time today. We are finally at the point where we want to be. We have enough information today, so we need to gather all of it together and make the car better tomorrow.” ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 98 CURB Records/hh gregg/Real Power): “If feels great to be on track. We were obviously searching for a little bit of speed and were going through the fundamental stuff. But I’m sure we’ll pick up a bunch of speed tomorrow. It’s just our second day on track, and we’re just trying to adapt to the conditions this year. It’s not where we want to be at this point, but we’ll think about it overnight, and I’m sure we should be up there tomorrow.” (About feelings going into qualifying): “I’ll definitely need another day to make the car a little more comfortable to drive, but I think we made a huge improvement. We’ve got 75 percent of the problem sorted, so I think we’re just searching for the last 25 percent. But we’ll be there.” DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola): “Today was productive for the Motorola team. We had some ups and downs, but this is what we needed. We were able to do some long runs and figure out the duration of the Firestone tires, rather than putting the stickers on. We are definitely getting there.” SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Team ResQ/Gravity Entertainment): “We started in our race setup today, and we learned we need to go in a different direction from where we were headed. It’s good that we figured that out today, and it looks like it’s going to be a good day tomorrow. We’ll head in a different direction and make a better go at it tomorrow.” TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing): “Today, unfortunately, the weather, we thought it was going to rain the whole time, and it was extremely windy and cold. I am not sure we got everything that we needed, but we certainly went through a lot of tests. We got some laps in there, and we will look over it tonight and see, and maybe come out with a better car tomorrow. Our main focus today was just race stuff and testing some stuff. It’s a new team, so we are just going through stuff that we may have had questions on. Maybe some little changes, but at least we got a better idea of where we are at.” HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): “The Formula Dream car was great at the beginning of the practice session, but as the weather changed, it became loose and I started to have hard time controlling the car. The weather affects the car so much, and I realized how hard it is to have a consistent car on the track. Luckily, we were able to try most of the setups we wanted to try today, so we will look at the data tonight and hopefully we will have another productive day tomorrow.” MAX PAPIS (No. 44 Rubicon Race Team/Lifelock): “We worked really hard today. We spent most of the day working on our race trim. I was not as fast as the top cars; we were maybe a mile (per hour) off the pace. We tried to take off a little downforce, not qualifying trim but in that direction, and for whatever reason we didn’t get all we wanted in speed from the car. As happy as I am for a race car, we still need to figure out a little more for qualifying to get where we want to be for Saturday. It was great to get a full day to run. We got the chance to make quite a few changes and really get some work done for Race Day.” JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team): “We did quite a bit of running today and worked on race sets for the McDonald’s car. We worked on getting a good balance and tried to get a feel for how much downforce to run. I think we learned some things, and we just have to analyze the data and work out exactly how we stand compared to everybody else. We don’t think everyone’s been on the same page. I know some people have put in some quick times, but I don’t think they were in full race trim. I ran in traffic for a while. I just sat behind Tony (Kanaan) and was not too bothered by the turbulent air, so I was quite pleased with that. I was able to hang on and run around, so generally the McDonald’s car is feeling pretty good in traffic so far. We ran new tires and old tires and did a lot of full-tank running. We were trying t o figure out what to expect come Race Day and how to balance the car in difficult conditions out there, as well, because the wind was such a factor. The 20-mph wind sock was completely horizontal; it was pretty windy out there, and you could definitely feel it in the car. I was getting blown around. Sometimes I would turn into the corner and the car would shoot down to the apex and hug the road, and other times you would turn in and the car would just shift around and you would slide up to the wall. It was hard to know what to expect lap after lap. I think the wind is more of a factor here because of the speeds we are doing and the lack of downforce we have in the car. If the weather cooperates tomorrow, we will keep working on race setup, because that is more important in order to get it as close to perfect as possible come Race Day.” BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “We are happy to run a lot of laps today. We just ran race setup and put the car in the top 10 for most of the day. Plus we got to work on pit stop practice with the crew. Pit stops are very important here at Indy. I think that helped win the race for me in 2004. We’ll keep working on the race trim for another day on Friday. Then we’ll throw the qualifying setup on it for Saturday and put the car in the show. We definitely want the best race setup we can get.” TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing): “It was very good to run in these conditions today. The wind moved the car around and running with other cars wasn’t real easy. It was especially tougher in the later stages of the tire wear. The William Rast car wanted to move around a little more. But overall it was a good day for all of the Dreyer & Reinbold team. We were able to run deep into the tire life. So as we get ready for the race, it was great to get a lot of laps. We’re in the window with the other teams with race setup. Buddy (Rice) had a good day, too. We feel confident since we have had very little running this month with all of the rain. We have a good car.” MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “It was a very busy day for me. But I am happy that we were on the track more today. It has been frustrating to sit around the garage and wait for the rain to go away. I feel that we are getting the car better each day that we run. It was pretty windy out there today, but we were able to do a lot of work with the car. I am looking forward to getting in more laps on Friday.” BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 18 The Z-Line Car): “Today was good. It was the first time we ran the whole day without raining or whatever, and it was good to put up some laps. I ran race setup, and the car seems to do pretty good, even better than qualifying setup. I think we can start to take some downforce off tomorrow to qualify Saturday. The car is much better today, better than last week. We are getting better.” MARIO MORAES (No. 19 The SONNY Car): “Today we improved a little bit on the car. We found some more speed in the car, and we tried some setups for the race. I hope it doesn't rain on Saturday and that we can qualify.” DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “We had a great day today. Our focus remained race preparation and runs on full loads of fuel. We used both stickers and scuffed tires and tried everything to get the balance of the car right. It was also beneficial to run in traffic and log some solid track time this afternoon. I was very happy with the car today overall and think we are in a solid position in terms of race preparation.” SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “I think the car was good for the most part, and we executed our plan like we hoped we'd do today. Part of the day was dedicated to developing mechanical grip and getting the balance of the car right. Today was based upon yesterday and the list of things we were able to go through.” E.J. VISO (No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing): “It was definitely good to be back in the car. We got lucky today with the weather I think. It was looking like it was going to rain all day, but it never did. The wind was a factor, but I still think we made some progress with the car. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have another productive day and continue to work on our qualifying and race setups. It’s nice to be back at work, and I look forward to every day that we are here at the Speedway. Even though it’s a long month, I’m really enjoying it.” HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): “Mother Nature definitely helped us out today with the weather. We had a great opportunity during the session to run a lot of laps and try several different things. I'm happy with the progress we made on the Team Penske car, and I think we're definitely moving in the right direction. This afternoon was certainly needed after all the rain we've been getting, and a day like today really helps to build our confidence on the track.” JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): “The good part of the day was that I had a lot of seat time today, and it was my first full session since my crash last week. But it was kind of a frustrating day because of the weather, which I think was a major factor today. We tried different setups, but we didn’t really want to chase the track because I don’t think it will be like this for qualifying or the race. Right now we will look things over with the engineers and get ready for tomorrow.” ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing): “It was good to get a whole practice session in today even if the weather wasn’t ideal, but like I said yesterday, you have to be ready to face whatever Mother Nature sends our way. We were able to try different things in preparation for qualifying this weekend. There is still some speed to find, but we will look over the data we collected today and take advantage of our last full practice session tomorrow before qualifying on Saturday.” RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): “Tomorrow might be different, and we may run just as much (downforce), so we might have to change the car. We’ll see what it looks like on Race Day and try to put to use what we have learned over these couple of days.” (On dealing with traffic today): “As Will (Power) mentioned, a lot of those guys are probably already doing race preparation and not running all the time in qualifying setup in short runs. We also want to be careful around the guys that aren’t qualified because you never know, and they might be doing a low-fuel run and could run out of fuel in a corner. I think when we started really running close, I was probably looking more for the guys who were already qualified, but still we were able to run pretty confidently with the guys who weren’t qualified.” MARIO DOMINGUEZ (No. 96 Visit Mexico City/Pacific Coast Motorsports): “Today was a great day for us. The rain stayed away, and we turned a lot of laps. We had the opportunity to really work with the car - almost like a test in that we tried so many different combinations. Now that we have some knowledge about the car under our belts, we will develop our qualifying setup tomorrow. It’s tough to get the car stable, but I’ve got great engineers who are doing a very good job. I am really looking forward to another big day of running tomorrow. It should be sunny and warmer, so I look forward to seeing how the characteristic of the car changes in that weather. There are so many factors here. It is really quite challenging, but I am excited about our progress today.” GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps): “It was pretty nice to be able to get some work done today. I think everybody woke up expecting to be drenched today, so it was nice to get some laps in and run a race setup on the car, which is something we hadn’t done here. We ran around 90 laps and made pretty big strides. It was tough because it was extremely windy, and that hurts you pretty bad. For the race setup, you really want to run with a whole bunch of guys, so from that standpoint it was good to run. But once the wind started to pick up and it started to get a lot cooler, it wasn’t all that fun. I feel fine in traffic now. I was having a lot of fun with Tony (Kanaan). Obviously, the more laps we get, the better we’re going to be.” DARREN MANNING (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing): “It was nice to get some laps in. We had a lot of time with the rain to sort out what we needed. We made some good changes, and it's the most comfortable I've been in the car, balance-wise. We stopped early to work through what we've done so far. We have a lot of data to go through with both cars.” JEFF SIMMONS (No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing): “We've been making progress all day. The car is much better from yesterday, but it was great to get out then so we could figure out what needed to be changed. We made adjustments all day. The car is more consistent, and I'm confident we'll find more speed.” ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology): “It was a strange day. Everybody thought it was going to rain any second, and it ended up not raining at all. It was very humid and cold and windy, so the conditions were very interesting. The KV Racing Technology team worked a little today on the race setup, but we never really trimmed out the car. We are just trying to find a good, solid car for the race. I am still not completely satisfied, but hopefully tomorrow we will have a full day of practice to continue our work and improve the car.” JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 24 Roth Racing): “I think it was a good day. The wind is obviously strong. We’ve got a program where we just need to get in the race and I think we've been good the last couple of days, so we're going to try and stay on that plan and hopefully we continue to improve. We made some big improvements today and we have to be good tomorrow.” VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 Delphi National Guard): “Since the end of last year, we’ve struggled a little bit. We struggled at the first race and Japan, too. It’s good to get back there. We hired a new engineer, which is Dave Cripps, who comes with a lot of information and experience. Things have settled down, and it’s made a big difference. It is good to be there. We had two Ganassis, then right afterward, two Penskes, then right afterward three AGRs. That shows that what’s going on with our team is pretty good. We’re right there. That’s the beginning of the work for the Delphi National Guard car. I think during the race it’s going to be even closer. The car was pretty good today, and I feel pretty happy.” (About running around non-qualified drivers in traffic): “I would say 95 percent of the runs, from what I saw, were race runs. You can see by the times. 223 (mph), I don’t think many people tried qualifying simulations today. Again, everybody is pretty experienced. Even though it’s the first time for some of them at Indianapolis, the group is pretty experienced and in fast cars. You have to be careful, but more to protect yourself and your car, which in our case is the car that we qualified.” WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia): “I guess we made a little bit of progress from Saturday. Now our focus has gone more toward the race because I'm pretty confident that we'll get in that 22 somewhere, that we'll qualify. Now we're focusing on long runs and figuring out what kind of downforce we can run and how close behind people. I haven't had much experience running in traffic. So that's where the focus is, and hopefully we can make some headway over the next couple of days. It was very blustery today. You definitely felt that. It was very inconsistent lap to lap, but who knows, maybe Race Day might be like this or qualifying Saturday might be like this, so it's always important to run and get good ideas of wind directions and get a good idea about how the car operates.” (Impressions of Indy): “It's been interesting. It's good for us because we get so much running time, and we need that on the ovals. It gives the team a chance to develop the car a little bit more. Especially during the race. To finish the race would be great for me because I'd get a lot of experience running in traffic. As far as an event goes, it's second to none. It's huge. I was really surprised the first day how many people turned out and also on qualifying days. For me, I'm really impressed, and it's a very unique track and I've enjoyed every moment of it so far.” DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing): “I think we ran more laps today than we have all month, which is really nice. The car had decent speed for race sims, and while the car wasn't quite as comfortable as I would have liked, fortunately Ed (Carpenter) and Anthony (Foyt) were on a completely different setup where they really liked the balance. We had just switched to that setup to try it out at the end of the day when it started to rain. I'm feeling pretty confident because with the speeds we're running with the car, not as I really wanted, it was still decent for race speeds. I think it was a good day.” ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing): “It was a full day of track time today. We could have gotten in more laps, but we started the day in the T-car and did 40-some laps before we decided to go back to the primary car. We were trying different things with each car. We had a productive day as a team. We got through some test runs that we needed to do, and I don't think we're too far from where we need to be for a race pace and speed. We have a little more work to do, but we're feeling pretty positive about it.” A.J. FOYT IV (No. 2 Vision Racing): “This is the most we've run in a day, and it was pretty productive. We definitely found some stuff with the car that we can move forward with tomorrow to get ready for the race. We have definitely made progress from start to finish of the day. We’re very, very happy to have a full day of running.” *** A total of 40 cars are currently at the Speedway and have passed technical inspection. Thirty-five drivers have been on the track to date and have turned 8,223 laps this month. Will Power turned 73 laps today and has turned 384 this month, most of any driver. There were five yellow flags for 45 minutes. A total of 96 IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers have passed physicals at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.
FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local): 9 a.m. Public Gates Open Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series practice
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 23 at Indianapolis. It will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on May 23 on ESPN2.