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DATE News (chronologically)
05/06/08
irl
Andretti tops opening practice at Indy  
Marco Andretti in his Indiana Jones car
Jim Haines/IRL
Andretti Green Racing's Marco Andretti was the only driver to break into the 226 mph speed range Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and led the opening day as practice began for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  Teammate Tony Kanaan was second-quickest on the day with Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon rounding out the top three.

A total of 31 drivers have turned 1,385 laps in practice today, for a total of 3,462.5 miles, without a single failure for the Honda HI8R Indy V-8 engine that is powering the entire Indy 500 field for the third consecutive year.  Two drivers - Helio Castroneves and Vitor Meira - ran laps in both their primary and backup cars.  Today was the first of four days of practice leading up to Saturday's "Pole Day" qualifying runs which will set the first 11 starting positions of the 33-car field.

Practice Tuesday for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine and speed:

1. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 226.599
2. (11) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 225.269
3. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 225.011
4. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 224.804
5. (10) Dan Wheldon, Dallara-Honda, 224.727
6. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 224.576
7. (12) Tomas Scheckter, Dallara-Honda, 224.436
8. (15) Buddy Rice, Dallara-Honda, 224.170
9. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 224.095
10. (8) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 223.550
11. (02) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 223.461
12. (4T) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 223.352
13. (27) Hideki Mutoh, Dallara-Honda, 223.225
14. (33) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 222.643
15. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 222.633
16. (16) Alex Lloyd, Dallara-Honda, 222.620
17. (99) Townsend Bell, Dallara-Honda, 222.583
18. (06) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 222.552
19. (5) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 221.883
20. (22) Davey Hamilton, Dallara-Honda, 221.684
21. (17) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 221.640
22. (2) A.J. Foyt IV, Dallara-Honda, 221.615
23. (14) Darren Manning, Dallara-Honda, 221.314
24. (36T) Enrique Bernoldi, Dallara-Honda, 220.978
25. (18) Bruno Junqueira, Dallara-Honda, 220.961
26. (44) Max Papis, Dallara-Honda, 220.686
27. (25T) Marty Roth, Dallara-Honda, 220.460
28. (96) Mario Dominguez, Dallara-Honda, 218.552
29. (19) Mario Moraes, Dallara-Honda, 218.159
30. (67) Sarah Fisher, Dallara-Honda, 217.866
31. (23) Milka Duno, Dallara-Honda, 217.412

Quotes

Danica Patrick, #7 Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"I am pleased with the Motorola car on the first practice day.  We had a fast lap the first run that we did, we were the only ones on the track at that time, so that is good.  Then we went back out and I was not satisfied with the way the car felt, so we took it in.  I was able to get some set up ideas from Marco and we went back out and the car felt better.  I was able to get my fastest lap in the last few minutes of practice.  The car is not 100 percent where it needs to be, but it is a long month and I am certain that my crew and I can get it where it needs to be."

Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"It was a very productive day for 7-Eleven team. It seems like we will get some rain tomorrow so we tried to run as many laps as possible. There are a few improvements we need to make on the car, but I am pretty pleased with it.  I was glad Marco did a good job out there.  It was a good day for AGR today."

Marco Andretti, #26 Forsythe Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"The Indiana Jones/Blockbuster car is on it so far, but unfortunately it's still early. But we'll take it. Obviously I had a very big tow, but I think you need the mechanical balance to be able to stay flat so you can get a good time. I've been very pleased with the car so far. It was a good start but this place changes."

Hideki Mutoh, #27 Formula Dream Dallara/Honda/Firestone
"We were able to test many setups today so it was a very productive testing day for Formula Dream team. I wish we were able to set a better time but we learned a lot from all the changes we made so we hope we will be able to set a faster time as we get closer to the Qualifying day."

Will Power
“It was a good day considering we started off with pretty bad balance in the KV Racing Technology Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia car,” Power said.  “We were able to come back at the end of the day with very nice balance, very neutral.  The KVRT team has just got to work on the little bits now…try and find little bits of speed everywhere, because I want to get up there and try and qualify in that top-11 on Saturday.”

Oriol Servia
“We started today extremely happy with the KV Racing Technology car and made some changes which didn’t really work out.  But, we are still learning.  We tried something that maybe didn’t work as well as we hoped, but the other KVRT car seems to be running really well.  The two cars are different now, so it’s good to see that one is going well.  At least the team will be able to learn from both setups.  It was still a good day.  We obviously wanted to end on a high, but we started the day well and hopefully tomorrow will be better.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay
“We know that we are going to be better than where we are right now,” said Hunter-Reay after posting the 23rd-best time of the day. “We have been to a couple tracks this year where we haven’t been that great on the first days but we end up being right there during qualifying and race day. The Rahal Letterman Racing team has a great history here. It’s a long month and you can drive yourself crazy getting caught up in speeds so early.”

Alex Lloyd
“We didn’t do all that much running today and on our late run, we made a change that took us in the wrong direction,” Lloyd confided. “But it still helps us as we can come back tomorrow and start from where we left off and get back to work. I think we still have a few steps to make as far as trimming the car out, and I think there’s still a lot left in this car.”

E.J. VISO
(No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing): “Another day of testing is complete, and I am very happy with the progress that we are making. We are developing the car each day, and I just try to learn what I can and give accurate feedback to the engineers. It’s like working on a puzzle; each day is a new piece and at the end we’ll put all the pieces together. We have specific goals to attain each day, and so far we are right on track with those. I don’t worry too much about results at this stage; we’re just focusing on our program and making progress.”
 
MILKA DUNO
(No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “Just now after the practice, something is not right (with the car). I can’t tell you too much about it. Something is not right. We have to go back into the garage to check everything because I don’t know what happened.”
 
TOMAS SCHECKTER
(No. 12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing): “This morning we were struggling a little bit, but we came back and looked at everything and got the car back to where it’s fairly decent. I still think we’ve got a little bit to go. We’re just working away, and I’m pretty happy with it.” (About success with the car in Kansas and how that built the team’s confidence heading into the month of May): “Certainly it helps a lot. I suppose if we just showed up here, we wouldn’t really know where we are, but Indy’s a different world; a different place. We performed decently at Kansas but coming to Indy, we’ve got so much to catch up. But certainly it did give everybody a little more confidence in the speed of the car.” (About the rest of the week): “Our main thing is to just try to qualify in the top 11. If we can do that, I’ll be happy.”
 
HELIO CASTRONEVES
(No. 3 Team Penske): “We were able to run both cars today, which is good for our first day of practice. We finished in the in the top six, so I'm happy with our results. All in all, we're putting the pieces together, and by the end of the week hopefully we'll be where we need to be. It's like a chess game out here, and today we started playing out our strategy and positioning our pieces. I'll tell you, it's great to be back here at Indy, and I'm hoping for a successful month.”
 
RYAN BRISCOE
(No. 6 Team Penske): “I’ve really been looking forward to coming to Indianapolis as part of Team Penske. What this organization has been able to do here is truly remarkable. Just turning my first laps this afternoon really was a special feeling for me. We tried to start with a comfortable setup on the car today and just turn some laps to see if we could learn anything new. We really haven’t done a lot in terms of trimming the car out to go for pure speed, but I’m sure that will come as the week goes on. Today was really about me getting comfortable with my crew and my engineer on this track and learning how to communicate what I need from the car here. The good news is that we were in pretty good shape on the speed charts, so we’re pleased with what we accomplished today.”
 
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI
(No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing): “We continued our progression today. I didn’t make as big of a jump as I did yesterday speed-wise, but we tested a lot of different things to see what works and what doesn’t.” (About driving at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): “It’s really nice driving here, and I’m having a lot of fun. I can’t say I enjoyed ovals that much until I came here. I like this place a lot. You really start understanding what Indianapolis is all about and why people say what they say about this place. It’s great.”
 
ED CARPENTER
(No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing): “Not exactly how I envisioned Day 1 going. I'd be lying if I said I was happy right now, as it's been a bit of a struggle today. Didn't really start out as good as I have here before, and I think we lost our way throughout the day trying to make things better, so we're going to take a step back tomorrow and go back to basics maybe and hopefully come back to some good weather tomorrow."


A.J. FOYT IV
(No. 2 Vision Racing): “It was a tough opening day for the Vision team because we definitely didn't find the speed we wanted to, but the good thing is it's the first day of many, and we have some time to figure it out. The team has done really well all year long, so we'll figure it out. It was great to see that many cars out on pit lane today. It wasn't too bad out there because everyone needs a bit of clean air to work on their qualifying trim. Hopefully we'll get some good weather all week so we can get a little bit better.”
 
DAVEY HAMILTON
(No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing): “I didn't run a whole lot of laps in the No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/Kingdom Racing Vision Honda, but the good news is that the team ran quite a few laps. Ed (Carpenter), Anthony (Foyt IV) and I all tried different things. It's early in the week, fortunately, because we're not super-pleased with the cars at the moment. But on the other hand, it's a complete different setup than what we ran here last year, so we know we can go right back to that if we need to. But to get better, we had to try some different things. We are able to go flat out and just under the 222-mph mark, so we may be down a bit, but we aren't that far off.”

WILL POWER
(No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia): “It was a good day considering we started off with pretty bad balance in the KV Racing Technology Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia car. We were able to come back at the end of the day with very nice balance, very neutral. The KVRT team has just got to work on the little bits now … try and find little bits of speed everywhere, because I want to get up there and try and qualify in that top 11 on Saturday.”

SARAH FISHER
(No. 67 Team ResQ/Gravity Entertainment): “Today was more of a shakedown than anything else. We didn’t get on track as early as we would have liked, but it’s a start. For me, I haven’t used the paddle shifters, so that is something I’m going to have to get used to. What they mean. What it wants. What it doesn’t want. But it was a good start, and we’ll go from there tomorrow.”

TOWNSEND BELL
(No. 99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing): “We went out to get a reading on the car’s initial setup. With a couple of laps, I was flat on the throttle, and the car’s handling was outstanding. We have found a good starting point of the month of May. That is always difficult here at Indy. The conditions and wind change constantly. So you need to have a solid start with the car.”
 
MAX PAPIS
(No. 44 Rubicon Race Team/Lifelock): “We are making progress. Every day we are running more consistently, with today being in the 219s and 220s (mph), while we are still very much in the safe margin with the downforce on the car. We are making really good progress, and with a little more time, the speeds will go up quickly.”

MARIO DOMINGUEZ
(No. 96 Visit Mexico City/Pacific Coast Motorsports): “Today we really spent the afternoon building up speed and finding the limits, step by step. Every lap I turn, I learn something. Yesterday we had to get out there and pass our three phases, so we didn’t have time to really focus on anything but that. So today was our first day finding limits and seeing what the car needs. We are fighting a loose condition, but we are working through it. This racetrack is just phenomenal; it is completely different than any track I have ever run on. I am grateful I have so much oval experience because it helps considerably, but at the same time, this track is different than any other.”
 
GRAHAM RAHAL
(No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps): “Today started off rough; the car was not very good. We kept coming back to the pad to try to figure out what it was and were working on several little issues, and at the end of the day I think we were pretty good. We could run low 222s (mph’s), low 222.3s by ourselves, and at the end we ran mid 222s on old tires, and that was with a little bit of a tow, so we’re pretty happy with that actually, because I don’t know what everybody else stacks up. I think we’re competitive with Justin (Wilson) because his quickest was with a tow also. We still need a couple of miles an hour, but I think we are getting closer and closer. I think I had the save of the month. I came out of Turn 1, and the car had understeered there every single lap except for this one and the thing snapped on me. It was close. They showed it on the screens all over the track. The car snapped, and I had a full lock on it (steering wheel), and it just came back to me.”
 
JUSTIN WILSON
(No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team): “The day was OK to start with. I felt like we made a little bit of progress on the McDonald’s car early in the session. I felt a little confused by the end of the day and was thinking we hadn’t actually learned anything. I was hoping for more and hoping to get the car a bit more stable and more comfortable to drive, but we didn’t manage to fix anything. I guess we’ll think about it tonight and have another go tomorrow.”
 
BUDDY RICE
(No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing): “Our first day was extremely good. We are definitely pleased how things started out for the Speedway. Even though the result wasn’t good at Kansas, we were able to take the handling settings that we had there and move them to here. The car was pretty good at Kansas, and we can see that momentum shaping up here. It’s always great to come to Indy and feels good to get the car handling so well so quickly. With the weather changing all of the time, we need a good point to start.”

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