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Latest IRL News and Commentary

CART drivers Kanaan & Brack top 229 MPH

May 9, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 9, 2002 – Rookie Tony Kanaan led practice for the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 9 by turning a fast lap of 39.2152 seconds, 229.503 mph during the final 10 minutes of the session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kanaan’s lap in the No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone was the second fastest of the month, trailing only the 39.1631, 229.808 recorded by fellow rookie Laurent Redon on Tuesday in the No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

“I wasn’t comfortable at all until today to run in traffic,” Kanaan said. “I didn’t have any confidence in my car. I didn’t have any confidence in myself. It’s a new place for me, so today I felt much better.

“Every day it’s getting better and more comfortable. The race pace is going to be a lot slower, and that actually is going to make us feel better.”

1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack was second today at 39.2970, 229.025 in the No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone. 2001 Indy winner Helio Castroneves was third at 39.3467, 228.736 in the No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

This was the fastest day of the month, as six drivers exceeded 228 mph. The previous high was three, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three of the six drivers above 228 today were members of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Besides Brack in second, 1997 Bank One Rookie of the Year Jeff Ward was fourth fastest at 39.3751, 228.571 in the No. 22T Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone, Brack’s backup car. Bruno Junqueira rounded out the top five at 39.3856, 228.510 in the No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone.

Veteran Mark Dismore suffered a concussion and was transported via ground to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for further examination after crashing in Turn 1 at 5:24 p.m. Dismore was awake, alert and stable after the accident in the No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.

The start of practice was delayed for the fourth consecutive day by wet track conditions. Today’s practice started at 12:30 p.m. (EST) after a delay of 90 minutes.

This was the busiest day of practice so far, with 33 drivers in 40 cars turning 1,446 laps.

Practice resumes at 11 a.m. (EST) Friday. Pole Day qualifications start at 11 a.m. (EST) Saturday. The 86th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for 11 a.m. (EST) Sunday, May 26.

--IMS--

Quotes

Results

Rank Car Driver C/E/T Time Speed Lap Difference
1 17 Kanaan, Tony G/C/F 39.2152 229.503 45
2 22 Brack, Kenny G/C/F 39.2970 229.025 63 +0.0818
3 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 39.3467 228.736 14 +0.1315
4 22T Ward, Jeff G/C/F 39.3751 228.571 12 +0.1599
5 33 Junqueira, Bruno G/C/F 39.3856 228.510 13 +0.1704
6 4 Hornish Jr, Sam D/C/F 39.4229 228.294 29 +0.2077
7 52 Scheckter, Tomas D/I/F 39.5433 227.599 32 +0.3281
8 44 Barron, Alex D/C/F 39.5818 227.377 13 +0.3666
9 51 Cheever Jr, Eddie D/I/F 39.6146 227.189 37 +0.3994
10 8T Sharp, Scott D/C/F 39.6171 227.175 42 +0.4019
11 9 Ward, Jeff G/C/F 39.6297 227.102 19 +0.4145
12 27 Franchitti, Dario D/C/F 39.6881 226.768 22 +0.4729
13 91T Lazier, Buddy D/C/F 39.6942 226.733 66 +0.4790
14 20 Dismore, Mark D/C/F 39.7737 226.280 6 +0.5585
15 53 Papis, Max D/I/F 39.8126 226.059 23 +0.5974
16 21 Giaffone, Felipe G/C/F 39.8383 225.913 45 +0.6231
17 23 Fisher, Sarah G/I/F 39.8689 225.740 18 +0.6537
18 31 Gordon, Robby D/C/F 39.8823 225.664 62 +0.6671
19 26 Tracy, Paul D/C/F 39.9090 225.513 62 +0.6938
20 31T Gordon, Robby D/C/F 39.9145 225.482 9 +0.6993
21 39 Andretti, Michael D/C/F 39.9178 225.463 4 +0.7026
22 32 Herbert, Johnny D/C/F 39.9237 225.430 42 +0.7085
23 98 Boat, Billy D/C/F 39.9439 225.316 60 +0.7287
24 19T Vasser, Jimmy D/C/F 39.9710 225.163 21 +0.7558
25 6 de Ferran, Gil D/C/F 39.9844 225.088 36 +0.7692
26 11 Ray, Greg D/C/F 40.0059 224.967 17 +0.7907
27 19 Vasser, Jimmy D/C/F 40.0459 224.742 46 +0.8307
28 2 Boesel, Raul D/C/F 40.0495 224.722 80 +0.8343
29 6T de Ferran, Gil D/C/F 40.1409 224.210 22 +0.9257
30 14T Dare, Airton D/C/F 40.2238 223.748 6 +1.0086
31 30 Mack, George G/C/F 40.2451 223.630 100 +1.0299
32 52T Scheckter, Tomas D/I/F 40.3835 222.863 11 +1.1683
33 99 Lazzaro, Anthony D/C/F 40.4307 222.603 35 +1.2155
34 34 Redon, Laurent D/I/F 40.7642 220.782 5 +1.5490
35 55 Treadway, Rick G/C/F 40.8021 220.577 7 +1.5869
36 12T Hattori, Shigeaki D/I/F 40.8725 220.197 49 +1.6573
37 37 de Vries, John D/C/F 41.2280 218.298 13 +2.0128
38 15 Servia, Oriol D/C/F 43.7866 205.542 9 +4.5714
39 11T Ray, Greg D/C/F 44.5183 202.164 4 +5.3031
40 39T Andretti, Michael D/C/F 44.7984 200.900 3 +5.5832

Quotes

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): “I haven’t been out yet because it’s windy, and we changed an engine. If everything is fine, everything is ready, we will go out and try the new engine. It was just the mileage. It was just time for a change.” (Are you surprised about your performance?): “Yes, I’m surprised. I am a rookie, so is the engineer. We’re all rookies here, but it’s great right now. We will have to wait and see how it goes Saturday.” (About racing in the IRL): “I like it. It is a lot different than Europe, and I hope to race here for many years.”

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Obviously, I’m very happy. We keep getting better. We’re doing it slow, one step at a time, which is the way to do it.” (About contending for the pole): “I don’t know. I’d like to think we could be there, but we will have to wait and see. The Pennzoil car feels great. It's hooked up and very comfortable to drive. We're just trying to make sure we do everything right and take our time dialing it in. We want the Panther car to be the fastest on the last day we run here. We want to peak on Race Day, that's when it counts. The Chevrolet engine pulls very strong, and I think it's more drivable. If you think about it, the jump in speeds from last year to this May is due primarily to Chevrolet bringing us some really improved engines. They've made some big gains for us, and Firestone too. They brought a much better right front tire. It has more grip, wears better, and the car feels more stable all the way around.”

MAX PAPIS (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): “We did exactly what we had to do today. We went the next step up. Now I feel comfortable in the No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti. We still have tomorrow for the final tuning and to get the last bit out of the car. Today I felt that we could go out and run in the 226s (mph), and we did that. We have taken a great step forward compared to a couple of days ago.”

MICHAEL ANDRETTI (No. 39 Motorola/Archipelago Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “When we rolled out this afternoon the car felt good right away. We did our first run, and as good as the car felt, I really thought we were going to run our quickest time of the week this afternoon. But on our second run, something felt really strange with the car. Since we hadn't made any major changes before that run, we decided to park the car and take a look at our data to see if we could find out what had happened. I am a little disappointed because I think if we had gotten the opportunity to continue running today, we would definitely have been quicker. We're still making progress, so we'll just pick up tomorrow morning where we left off today.”

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): “Practice was very good. We were working a little more on the qualifying setups. We’re taking the car out and trimming it up. It’s getting better and better, and our times are getting better. We’re in the top six, so hopefully tomorrow we will improve a little bit more. With my T car we had a little bit of an engine problem. It was a brand-new engine, so we’re going to look at it. But I jumped back in my other Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti, and it was great.”

EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (No. 51 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): “We figured a lot out today. There are two things we want to try tomorrow, some qualifying simulations. I think we can probably do mid-227s, but there are cars out there that can do mid-228s. (Helio) Castroneves looked really, really strong today. All three of us at Red Bull Cheever Racing are honing in on what we need to do. The biggest gain today was made by Max (Papis). He made a lot of improvement. I think he is going to surprise a lot of people tomorrow in the 53 car. He is whittling away at it carefully. He now understands that he is driving an IRL car. He is making some very fine and careful modifications so that he is comfortable with the car.”

JOHN DE VRIES (No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): “After missing out on a day of practice yesterday, just being in the car today felt good. All week we've been running the T car, and today the crew was able to get the newly updated car on the track. We weren't able to get in many laps before Dismore's accident, but the car did feel a whole lot better. Hopefully the weather will continue into tomorrow and give us a good day of practice dialing in before Saturday's qualifying session.”

RAUL BOESEL (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We tried a few things this first day and improved the car throughout the day, just not as much as I would have liked to. There is still one corner I'm not too comfortable with, which is Turn 1. We need to go back and see what's happening there. That particular corner is keeping us from really going fast. All the other corners feel very good, and we're not freed up much, so overall I feel good. Working with this team has been excellent, everything works like a clock. Our first day was exactly what we had planned, and we'll go through what we did today for tomorrow and take it from there.”

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “It's very satisfying to see that the Rayovac Blair team has increased our speed from one day to the next, especially with the limited track time that we had today due to windy conditions. Some of the other drivers seemed to run more today, laying down more rubber, creating a cleaner line to give us the best track conditions so far.”

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Even though we were able to make some gains with the CURB Records car, we're still not exactly where we'd like to be. If we could find another 1 or 2 miles an hour, I'd feel a lot better. It's hard to tell where everybody's speed actually lies with a lot of cars on the track but we know that we still need a little bit of speed. We'll go back and if we can find just a little bit more, we'll put it in full qualifying trim tomorrow and see what it'll do.”

RICK TREADWAY (No. 55 Airlink Enterprises/Spade Motorsports G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Feeling really good. We just wanted to do a few laps to see what the car would do in the wind. I was a little bit on the conservative side, but we’re really feeling confident with the Airlink car. Treadway-Hubbard Racing has just done an incredible job all week, working with me and getting me up to speed. We’re feeling real confident looking forward to Saturday, hoping that Mother Nature will be with us and not rain us out.” (What is the plan for tomorrow?): “Just to make sure we have the same setup and make sure we’ve still got it. We’ll just get tuned up for Saturday.”

FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Today was all right. We had some problems in the morning that took a couple of hours. We had a different car today than yesterday. We were trying to find the setup again. When we finally put on new tires, we had a clutch problem. So I never got a chance to do a quick lap.” (About teammate's quick lap): "That’s why I'm more confident. I drove Tony's car yesterday. It was a very good car. I'm going to make changes in my car for tomorrow that Tony did in his car today. We actually didn't have our best day of the week today. I guess that was bound to happen since we were making steady progress every day until today. I switched back to my primary car, and we were working on getting it to where my backup car was yesterday and just ran out of time. That, and the fact we ran on older tires much of the day and when the time came for our speed run at the end of the session, we had a clutch problem. So that's the way it goes here.

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “I’m happy with the gains that we’ve made so far this week. We’re working on getting the car fast all by ourselves. That is how it will be on Saturday, so that is our focus right now. The weather is going to be a big factor in how the speeds will be this weekend. It will also make a big difference when you go out to qualify. As you have seen this week, the later the better. We’re still making some minor changes on the car to see how it reacts to the changes in the weather.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 15 Walker Racing Special Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We did an installation check and the installation check went well. We didn't even have time, but for a couple of runs. We will see tomorrow, but it is definitely a special place – I'm not saying anything new – but it feels different than anywhere else we have been.” (About teaming with Walker): “It's for sure one of the best places to come as a rookie. Derrick has won this thing a few times – that is what you want to have beside you for the first time. I've never been in his team before. We have always had a good relationship. I think things will be good for us.” (About goals for Friday): “Get use to new car and new track. Then we will see if we can get ready to qualify, if we can't, well we'll see.” (How quickly did this come together?): “It came late, but it happened quick once we decided to do it. I mean last night was probably the night so I think we are still on time to put on a good show.”

KENNY BRACK (No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone):
“I said yesterday that the car is coming around, and it did today. It was good to post a speed like that today. It’s good for the confidence of the team and for myself. I’m very happy for the guys. We have a car that should be pretty good for qualifying, but we’ll have to wait and see how things pan out on Saturday.”

SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We just worked on the backup car, I made sure it was close to up to speed in case we needed it. But we’re hoping and planning on using our primary car, and really, we’ve spent most of our attention on that. As long as we got close we’re happy. With the conditions and stuff, things have been going really well for Kelley Racing. None of us really even wanted to run. I mean, Al (Unser Jr.) didn’t run. We weren’t going to push it too hard.” (What needs to be accomplished tomorrow to ensure that MBNA Pole speed on Saturday?): “I think, at this stage in the game when you’ve been here for four or five days, you don’t start throwing the kitchen sink at it. We’re lightly rubbing on it, trying to max our speed in the car as best we can, and ship it. You hope you pull a good draw number.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We tried a different approach today. Yesterday, I really thought we got all out of the car the way we had it. So we tried something different. We had an oil leak on our first run today, so you know we are hoping the weather cooperates tomorrow. We will concentrate on qualifying setup and see how far up the charts we can get. As we get to around 5 (p.m.), we have really tried to see what we can do.”

JEFF WARD (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We made some huge gains today. From yesterday until today, it’s like night and day. The car was right on for most of the day. Our quick lap was in the heat of the day and we were all by ourselves. There was no one even on the same straight as me. I feel a lot better about our chances on Saturday now. Team Target really has some momentum to build on now.”

AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We went out around 5 p.m. and just tried to shake down the backup car. We found out some things, and we’ll just go back at it tomorrow.”

GREG RAY (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah’s Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We tried different setups with the primary car and the T car but didn’t get a lot of laps in either car. We had a 227-mph lap going but got hung in traffic, so we didn’t get a chance to post the number. It’s not perfect, but over the past couple days we have eliminated some things we don’t want to do and found things that we do want to do. I think we’re also chasing the track a little bit because with the rain it’s been a green track every day. It’s still not comfortable to be flat consistently, and we have to trim more downforce and keep the same grip. Tomorrow we just have to pick a dancing partner and fine-tune that setup.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Today we made very good progress, the track is getting better and better, and the cars are getting faster. Once again, we did our quick speed (228.736 mph) on our own, which is very important as we prepare for qualifying. The weather is supposed to be good tomorrow, and I think we're going to see everyone's true speeds as we get in our final preparations for Pole Day.”

ANTHONY LAZZARO (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/ Chevrolet/ Firestone): “We had a long hard think about our situation after the last two days. We weren't where we wanted to be. Today, we definitely turned a corner and are on the same page. We made significant progress today.”

JIMMY VASSER (No. 19 Miller Lite/Rahal Letterman Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/ Firestone): “We continue to work away on our plan on both cars with different setups. We were finally able to get more time on the track with the two cars today (75 laps). We have been behind a little bit due to the weather problems. We’re starting to get more trimmed out with each car and squeeze a few more miles per hour out of them. I will admit that the car feels solid even with the wind conditions the last few days. I think we’re struggling to get up to the fast guys, but we have a few more tricks we are going to pull out on Friday.”

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We had a tough day today. We're still struggling to find some speed in both cars (primary and backup), which is a slight disappointment. Tonight we'll put our minds together, and hopefully we'll have another clear day tomorrow and be a little faster.”

GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We made some gains today - try 224 - we still need a little more obviously. It’s a far cry from 222, which I just couldn't get away from that. We have been creeping up on it a little bit at a time. I ran the most laps out there today - more than anybody. We ran over 100 laps today while everyone else was in double digits. I need it so that was fine with me. We made some major gains, I think.”

PAUL TRACY (No. 26 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We went out there with everybody out there. It was too nervous in traffic. I wasn’t able to utilize my new tires. We’ll start again tomorrow. I think we’re in the middle, not real comfortable. We’re not real sure of ourselves, so we have to keep working at it. We have a whole day tomorrow and we need to find a couple miles per hour. I think it’s attainable.” (Are you getting help from your teammates?): “I am doing something that is totally different than them, so I can’t really rely on them now. I have gone in a completely different direction than them, so we can’t really go back now. We can’t rely on any setup help from them.”

JOHNNY HERBERT (No. 32 WESTERN UNION/Duesenberg Brothers Racing Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): “We made much better progress being able to run more laps. I think we gained 5 mph or so. The car feels a lot better, but it’s just not quite free enough for the moment. Once it frees up, we’ll get another couple mph or so for sure, so we’re not a million miles away. But I know it’s going to take a bit of time to find it and know exactly what you want. We’ve made good progress. I’m nearly happy with the car, and once I’m fully happy with it we’ll be just fine for qualifying and the race. On a scale of one to 10, we’re probably at about a seven or seven and a half, so we’re not very far off.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “I need to say thanks to Jimmy Vasser. That was his tow for the whole lap. I mean, I opened the lap behind him out of Turn 4 and I finished the lap ahead of him at the finish line. Yes, that was a hell of a tow. It makes me feel good. It’s always good to be on the top, but it’s not a realistic lap. The car is consistent at 227.8 (mph), 227.6 (mph). First I need to say thanks to my teammate because I ran his backup car today. My car had a little problem yesterday, and he gave me his backup car. Now he’s probably going to want his car back. I’ve already invited him to dinner tonight so I can have a little chat with him and try to get his car.” (About talking about IRL cars leading into May): “It’s definitely a lot different than a CART car. I wasn’t comfortable at all until today to run in traffic. I didn’t have any confidence in my car. I didn’t have any confidence in myself. It’s a new place for me, so today I felt much better. It’s to just because I’m hanging around and doing nothing. I keep walking around and going around the garage. So it’s different, it’s definitely something else.” (About qualifying): “Obviously, my goal is to make the show first. When I’m driving the race car, obviously I want to drive as fast as I can. If I have a chance to be on the pole, I’m going to try it. That’s what I’m working for, but it’s everything so new to me. I wasn’t comfortable, like I said before, but I’m going for the pole. I think we have a competitive car. Felipe and myself have been working together. He’s been racing these cars for a while. He has a lot more knowledge than I do. I think whatever we have the best, you know sometimes you don’t have the same equipment, whatever we have the best it should go to him because he’s playing for this championship. The race is such a long race. I won a 500-mile race from a lap down, so I’m not too worried about if I’m not on the pole. Top 10 (start) would be great.

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