News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Auto Racing

May 19, 2010

Weather, crash dictate schedule at Indy 500 practice

INDIANAPOLIS — Practice for the 94th Indianapolis 500 started an hour later and ended 10 minutes early Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Weather and a crash dictated the schedule, but Target Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon posted quick lap of the day with a 226.549. A wet race course had drivers waiting around the garage again after Monday’s washout, but shortly after 1 p.m. they received the green flag.

With just 10 minutes to go before the 6 p.m. close, E.J. Viso did a quarter-spin to the left in Turn 1 and backed into the SAFER Barrier at exit. The car slid down the short chute, before stopping on the apron at the entrance of Turn 2. The car sustained heavy damage to rear.

The safety team removed Viso from car placing him on the stretcher and into the ambulance. Dr. Geoffrey Billows, Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of medical services, said that Viso was awake and alert, but transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after complaining of back pain.

Mario Moraes was second quickest at 225.913 mph for KV Racing Technology and Marco Andretti for Andretti Autosport was next at 225.751.

“So far we’ve just worked on race setup, and I think tomorrow we will start working out our qualifying setup. I’ve been looking at the weather for the week and it looks like the qualifying weekend is going to be hotter, so we’re waiting until we get closer to the weekend,” Moraes commented. However he did brush the wall in Turn One just after 3 p.m, causing light damage to the rear of the car.

Andretti was pleased overall with his car’s performance.

“Right now, we’re working on getting as much mechanical grip as possible because we know that these days are cold, but they’re grippy, as well. So, we know that it’s not going to be this easy in the coming week or two. I’m just happy it was dry today and that we got some laps. I think it’s the same for everybody. You just need to get it right.” 

He had several thoughts on his chances of winning at Indy and how to lose as well.

“We’ve lost this race as a family in every way possible. You know, at least we’re competitive and we’re able to keep being there at the end of the races. I’ve been on the podium every time I’ve finished here, and that’s only 50 percent of the time. We just need to keep doing that and hopefully get a little Lady Luck on our side, and we’ll put it in Victory Circle.”

Alex Tagliani, for FAZZT Race Team, was fourth-quickest of the day. He was very pleased with his 225.378.

“Today we were able to put a good speed on the board, and we are very pleased with the performance of the car. We’re going to keep our heads down and stay focused and continue to do what we are doing for the rest of the week. So far, it’s been very positive. We just have to make sure we stay out of trouble and that we protect our baby.”

Billows cleared Dan Wheldon to drive Tuesday after being re-evaluated for a bruised right foot suffered in a practice crash Sunday. Wheldon was fifth quickest of the day with a fast lap of 225.378.

“I think my fourth lap we were quickest we’ve been all month I’m not at all surprised we were able to come out of the gate so quickly today.”

The veteran Indy 500 team entries of CURB/Agajanian/Team 3G were withdrawn from the 2010 Indianapolis 500.

Andersen Racing signed Arie Luyendyk Jr. to be Carmen Jorda’s teammate in the Firestone Freedom 100 Firestone Indy Lights race Friday.

Luyendyk, 28, is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk. He has 62 career Firestone Indy Lights starts, with one victory. He started the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

“I am thrilled to be back in a race car, especially at Indianapolis. I have known Dan and John Andersen of Andersen Racing since my days in US F2000. I have always had a great relationship with them over the years, and now I’ll finally have an opportunity to drive one of their cars. Indianapolis means more to me than I can express. I’ve come back to win, and I’m confident that Andersen Racing will give me a car that can make that a reality.”

Practice resumes today from noon to 6 p.m. Public gates open at 9 a.m.

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