The Callahan Report: Yates Cars Fastest At The Brickyard
31 July 1997INDIANAPOLIS: Dale Jarrett was king of the Brickyard when he left here a year ago. He was king again today. Jarrett had the top speed of the day at 178.980 MPH. Jarrett admitted the speed was turned at the end of the day and it would be hard to duplicate during tomorrow's qualifying session. Jarrett will attempt to qualify in the heat of the day when speeds are typically slower.
Both Robert Yates Racing cars are fast. Ernie Irvan, Jarrett's teammate, was second fast with a speed of 177.983 MPH. Both Yates cars have the flat tracks figures out.
Irvan turned his speed under some trying circumstances. Irvan left Northeast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. this morning where his mother is in the intensive care unit. Ms. Irvan, 62, underwent emergency surgery last Sunday, July 27, for a perforated ulcer. Following surgery, she developed complications in the form of Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) or respiratory failure, requiring that she be put on ventilator support. Irvan was quite emotional and broke into tears after the days practice session. "A couple of years ago, it was me holding on for life with her at my side. Now the tables are turned."
Rounding out the top five on today's speed chart were Wally Dallenbach at 177.144 MPH; Ted Musgrave at 176.908, and Lake Speed at 176.706 MPH. Speed turned his fast lap early in the practice session. Late in the day, Speed lost the back end of h his car coming out of turn 4 late in the day. He gathered it up but grazed the wall with the back of the car, then the front. Speed continued to the south end of the track and stalled. He was uninjured.
Mike Skinner, driving the Lowes Home Improvement Chevrolet was the first driver to test the concrete while practicing for the 1997 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Skinner lost the back end of the number 31 car in the middle of turn three. The car did a quarter spin and backed into the wall. Skinner was uninjured in the crash. The car was heavily damaged.