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DATE News (chronologically)
05/21/11
irl
Saturday morning update from Indy - 2  Pre-qualification practice is done for the 2011 Indy 500 Pole day.  At the top of the charts:

Alex Tagliani, 228.184
Buddy Rice, 227.849
Will Power, 227.766
Scott Dixon, 227.642
Helio Castroneves, 227.396

The best stories, however, are at the bottom of today's speed charts.  Or rather, the Scott Speed chart:  Scott Speed posted a 41st-fastest time of 222.803.  It is no secret that Scott hasn't found any comfort at Indy, and continues to struggle.  If Scott fails to master Indy, he wouldn't be the first incredibly talented driver to take a few laps around Indy and call it quits -- Juan Manuel Fangio's 1958 attempt comes to mind. 

Fortieth-fastest is Andretti Autosports member Mike Conway at 223.172.  Barely faster are Marco and John Andretti -- 34th and 35th respectively.  Ryan Hunter-Reay is 29th fastest.  Danica is 14th-fastest, a full 3/10 of a second behind Tagliani.  It is not inconceivable that two Andretti cars will miss this year’s show.

Simona de Silvestro was 39th fastest in her backup car, which is a chassis built in 2003 and used mostly for road racing. 

Ryan Briscoe returned to the track to shake down his "T" car after his earlier crash, and was 36th-fastest. 

**********************

James Hinchcliffe, the rookie from Canada, is a "keeper".  Not only has he found speed at Indy, he also has become a fan favorite, constantly out signing autographs and joking with the fans.  When AutoRacing1 asked him about the noticeable scrape on his nose, he broke into a mischievous grin grin.  "Well, it might be from rescuing a kitten in a tree.  Or, I was shaving my nose trying to gain aerodynamic advantage.  Then again, I  might've got it playing hockey."  Given the fact that he's proudly Canadian, I'm voting for the hockey story, unless of course the kitten was in a maple tree.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy
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