Rain cuts Indy 500 practice short; Dixon fastest
Rain delayed the start by 5-hours and after about 30 minutes of running, practice for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 ended when rain hit the Speedway again.
|Scott Dixon throws up sparks|
Pole-sitter Scott Dixon clocked the fastest lap of the day with a speed of 222.834 mph.
Dixon's teammate, Dan Wheldon, had the second-best time with a speed of 222.810 mph. Wheldon's No. 10 car will start on the outside of the first row.
Marco Andretti (222.801 mph) had the third-best time, and his Andretti Green Racing teammates Hideki Mutoh (221.968 mph) and Danica Patrick (221.663 mph) were fourth and fifth.
John Andretti, who recently took over the No. 24 Roth Racing car from Jay Howard, had the sixth-best time with a speed of 221.386 mph.
Tomorrow's practice is scheduled from noon to 6 p.m., but rain is forecasted for the afternoon.
||Foyt IV, AJ
INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Indiana Jones presented by Blockbuster): “Obviously, the weather is the same for everyone, but it's still disappointing to get so little time on track in the Indiana Jones/Blockbuster car. We still need a couple of days of full-tank runs to get a good handle on the race setup. It has been good, though, because the rain has given us some extra time to sign autographs and talk to the fans who paid to come out and didn't get to see any action.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): “We know that the 7-Eleven car will be ready for Race Day, but it would still be nice to get as many full-tank runs in as possible. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow.”
ALEX LLOYD (No. 16 Rahal Letterman with Chip Ganassi): “It was nice to get in the car and get in at least a few laps today with the way the weather was looking. We were basically just doing leak-checks, having had the accident and put the car back together again. We wanted to make sure everything was OK. We got what we needed to accomplish today. The car is OK, and we know what we need to do. Hopefully if we get some running in tomorrow, we can get a couple more laps at speed and see what we can do.” (How are you feeling after your accident last week?): “I feel fine, absolutely perfect. One-hundred percent.”
MAX PAPIS (No. 44 Rubicon Race Team/Lifelock): “Even though we had a short day, it was still great to be out there on the racetrack. We went out in our race configuration, and I was really pleased since every time we go back to our known quantity, the car is good. We just hope we can get it to work with a bit more consistency so that we will be able to get a bit more of the speed that we think the car is capable of. Considering we just did short runs, I am pretty happy. With the track conditions as they are, it is crazy for us to try any qualifying runs today. Over Turns 3 and 4 there were huge dark clouds, and I was just waiting for it to pour down. We will have plenty of time Friday to get the car up to speed and where we want it for qualifying, so I am not concerned as they pay you the big bucks to race, not qualify.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola): “I wish the weather would have allowed the Motorola team some more practice time today, but I am happy with the time that we did get. My crew was able to make a couple of changes that made the car feel real balanced. Hopefully we can get a full day of practice in tomorrow.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing): “I'm going to guess that the trucks out there have done more laps than any Indy cars this month. I think we'll get some running in this week, and all three cars will be focusing on the race. We'll certainly have plenty of tires. We've missed so much track time that we'll be using Saturday and Sunday to run, as well, when there are breaks in the qualifying line. I think you are going to see a lot of people taking advantage of as much track time as possible. You want to get out there when there are a bunch of other cars out there to run race setups, but when that track does goes green, with the limited amount of time we have had, I'm going to bet that everyone will be out there at the same time.”
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 2 Vision Racing): “I'm not going to get too worried or get too frustrated because the way we unloaded the car on Opening Day, we had a basic race setup, and we know what that felt like. We haven't been able to do full-tank and long runs, but I think we still know what direction to go to. The one thing we can't control is Mother Nature, so you might as well not get too upset or frustrated about it.”
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing): “This has been a very different week than I have ever had at Indy with all this rain and such short amount of track time. I guess the good thing is that it gives us plenty of time to do a lot of strategizing, and we know where we want to be and what we're going to do when we go out there. It's just a little frustrating, to be honest with you, especially in my situation where I haven't had a lot of track time. Thank God I'm with this Vision team with guys that run full time, engineers that do this full time, so I'm ahead of the game a little bit. Hopefully the rest of the week will be clear, but we won't hold our breath just yet.”
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Team ResQ/Gravity Entertainment): “(About weather): “Yeah, it is disappointing. Our team, being a fresh team to the league and the series, it's disappointing, but what can you really do about the weather? You just have to try to plan around it as best you can, and the Indy 500 is certainly about people who can alter their plans and change for the adverse conditions. I think, if anything, it's only educating us for Race Day. I come from sprint cars, so if you don't get it done in four laps, you won't. It gives us some time to work on the car a little bit more and perfect things that we may or may not have had time to do coming into the month of May. So whether or not it's raining, we're still taking advantage of time, and we're still working toward making the car faster and faster every day, whether it's on the track or in the shop.” (About struggle with sponsorship): “Any publicity is good publicity, and certainly the publicity that we've received out of the folks that are supporting our team is tremendous in the fact that it has attracted IUPUI and it's attracted Hartman Oil out of Kansas. Both of those associates would have not been on board, probably, if they hadn't known that we were having trouble. So all the press is great, and the more exposure that we get, the more we're able to tell our story. Say, ‘Hey, here's where we were and here's what we thought was going to happen, and then it didn't.’ It's a lot more work for the month of May than I thought it was going to be for myself. I thought once I got here and I cleared the check, the wires deposited, all is good. All I have to do is focus 110 percent on race car driving, and I've had to spend some time on team ownership. The rain really hasn't bothered me from being a team owner, but it has from a driver, so it's the devil on one and the angel on the other.”
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power): “For a shakedown today, it was pretty good. We got a couple of runs out of it, but we still need to sort out the aero balance, and we can do that tomorrow. It’s nice to get the shakedown out of the way so we can focus on going faster tomorrow. I would have certainly loved to have had more track time, but it is what it is.” (On being back at Indianapolis): “It’s great to be here, and every lap you go around here, you have to really appreciate it because you don’t get to do that every day. I’m smiling in the car every turn I go through.” (On racing once again with Beck Motorsports): “We’ve got the same crew (we had in Motegi) and (team owner) Greg (Beck) is doing the engineering part, and I think the most important thing is h e knows my vocabulary and how I explain how the car is doing. Once we get a little more track time, we will be moving up the chart.” (On focus during Thursday’s practice): “We’ll probably focus a lot more on the race setup. It’s very important to have a good platform to work with, and there is no need to keep trimming the car out without having a good platform. We’re probably risking a lot at that point, so we’re just going to have to play it by ear with the weather. I would say once we get the fundamental stuff sorted out, we’ll be up there.”
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 24 Roth Racing): “The direction we were going in was a big battle. I think the car is pretty good. I mean, a little bit of nerves going out on cold tires and making sure that I got everything underneath me. But then by Lap 3, then I could run, and my cousin Marco (Andretti) passed me, and the car in the back of him just got the tires going then. We're basically in a race for downforce. I felt pretty good about it at that point, and I think that we have a pretty good, solid car that we can start coming and we can get some more speed out of it now. I'm not worried about the race; I'm worried about qualifying. I don't have a lot of experience with these cars right now, but I have a lot of experience around the Speedway, and I think working last year with Panther Racing really helped me a lot. Vitor and I got to talk to them a lo t, so that really accelerated what I had for this year. Last year, I didn't even start until tomorrow, so I think that I'm way ahead of my game now, and I feel like we've got a good solid baseline. We'll work from there. I know there's more speed in it, and how much more we need I think is going to be pretty small compared to where we are right now. I was pretty surprised we even got any track time. I think there is a little bit of age in me, because when I start seeing raindrops on my visor, I said, 'OK, I'm done,' and then they threw the yellow, and now the track is all wet. So I guess maybe I'm not as brave as I used to be or maybe just not as dumb as I used to be. But I think that today we learned a lot. We took a big jump at the setup. We learned some things on Saturday, and we really feel really good that we're getting closer to where we need to be. We were in race trim configuration downforce-wise, so I think that a lot more speed can get built in the car.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team): “We weren’t able to accomplish a lot today. We wanted to put a few miles on some parts on the McDonald’s car, and that’s about all we did. We went out at the end with some new tires after having run old tires before that and were trying to put down a baseline just to quantify a few changes we’ve made since Saturday, and I got halfway around on my first timed lap and it rained. As I was finishing my out lap, the guys came on the radio and said it was raining in Turn 3. Just when I was thinking we would get a chance to baseline it and learn something, we had to stop. We did a few laps on old tires, and that was about it today. We have a lot of work to do on Friday and Saturday in terms of race setup.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps): “We didn’t get much done in terms of setup today, but we had some parts we needed to get broken in, so I guess we accomplished something. It’s better to do it today than to waste time on another day, but it’s tough to not be on track more. I’m one of those guys that over-thinks things a little too much, and any time you are going over 200 mph and you see rain drops on your visor … I don’t like that too much. Overall, we got those parts broken in and also know that the car has too much understeer in traffic. Based on the forecast, we consider tomorrow gone. The forecast is good for Friday, and I think we’ll just work on race setup and even again on Saturday morning. We had a good qualifying car so we’ll just throw that setup on, and I think we can get in the field comfortably and go from there.”
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): “Assuming it will rain again tomorrow, it was good that we got some track time today. We were able to try some of the setup changes on Formula Dream car, and we were able to get a pretty balanced car. So we are happy with what we were able to accomplish in such a short time.”
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia): “I was able to get a longer run at the end and get a better feel for what the KV Racing Technology Aussie Vineyards – Team Australia car does over a number of laps. The conditions were pretty cool conditions, and the track was green, so I wasn’t able to get up to speed. These rain days have been frustrating, but we only have a certain number of tires and a certain number of miles we can do on the engine anyway. But it has definitely been more rain than we need.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology): “The rain is a little bit frustrating. It’s like going to the office, seeing all the work you need to get done and not being allowed to do it. It is the same for everyone; it just makes things tougher for the guys like us that need to qualify this weekend. We only have two days, and it looks like it will rain tomorrow, so just Friday, to work on the race setup and feel confident about the qualifying run on Saturday. It is going to be very interesting. For the KV Racing Technology team, we had hoped to test a lot this month and catch up to the established teams. We have caught up some, but these rain days are not helping us that much. I really don’t think it makes much difference if you start 12th or 20th at this point; I would just like is to have a good race car. Our focus on Friday will be to make the show and make sure we have a good race car.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “The track was green, and a lot of people didn’t think we were going to run because there was quite a bit of mist. We got maybe 15 or 20 laps. We just wanted to see how the car handled in traffic. Because there was so little laps, everybody was out there, so we got to run in traffic a little bit and see how the balance was. We have a little bit of understeer, especially in traffic, It was pretty decent, but it was basically about who got the biggest tow. I think Dan (Wheldon) and I had a few decent tows when we were trying to pass cars, and so did Marco (Andretti). It was a good day for Team Target because you learn something every time you are on track.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “We were working on race stuff, and we didn’t get a lot of time, but I think we have an idea of where our car is at. What we’re going to do now is try an improve it.” (About the conditions): “You take (the conditions) into consideration with downforce levels and stuff like that. We’re just trying to simulate what race conditions may be like.”
JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): “It was good to finally be back on track. I was back in the 34 car, after driving the 36T car last week, and it’s still there. Our setup today was a race setup; we were trying to see where we are. Tomorrow if we have track time, we will focus on qualifying, but I think we’re good. It was just 35 minutes, but I am happy with the car. We were going to improve, but the rain came back, so we couldn’t do anything. As soon as we have track time, we are going to be there, adjust some things, and we’re going to be good.”
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing): “It was good because it had been three days that I wasn’t in the car. It’s always good to get mileage, and you always learn on a track like this one. Today went well. It was good preparation in case we have a day like this on Saturday for qualifying. You have to be ready to go out there no matter what time the session starts, and you also have to be able to get the best out of the car in any condition. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that we can have more track time tomorrow and Friday before qualifying this weekend.”
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (No. 96 Visit Mexico City/Pacific Coast Motorsports): “Wow … this is crazy weather. I am grateful for the 22 laps we ran because for us every lap is like gold. We ran just enough to get an idea of how the changes we’ve made over the last few days feel. We are still fighting too much understeer, but at least we know that and the engineers have something to work with tonight. I just returned today from Mexico City, where I received a very nice honor yesterday when the city named me their Official Ambassador of Sport and Tourism. I’ve received such incredible support from my home city, and it makes me very proud. Hopefully the sunshine will return, and we’ll be back on track making more progress tomorrow.”