The Callahan Report: Hewitt and Kite Crash in Opening Day of Indy Practice
10 May 1998
By Terry Callahan
INDIANAPOLIS, IN: Thirty-five cars made on track
appearances at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the
opening round of practice for the 82nd Indianapolis 500. Two of them
tested the hard concrete walls surrounding the historical motorsports
The Auto Channel
Jack Hewitt, a popular and promising newcomer to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was driving his number 18 PDM Racing Parker Machinery G-Force Aurora through turn 4 when he went a bit too high in the corner. Hewitt lost his lost his steering in the gray area of the track known as "the marbles". Hewitt slammed the outside wall, spun 180 degrees and then backed into the inside wall in front of the pits on the main straightaway. He then slid back across the track (still backwards) and came to rest against the outside retaining wall. Hewitt immediately jumped from the car. He was checked at the infield Hanna Medical Center and released to drive.
Although Hewitt was cleared to drive, the PDM Racing team only has one car entered in the 82nd Indy 500. The car was extensively damaged. If it cannot be repaired in time for this weekend's run for the pole, the team may have to reach deep into their pockets to purchase a new racer.
The second quickest man at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today was veteran and defending champion Arie Luyendyk. Once again, Luyendyk and Team Menard are gearing up for a week long battle during practice. Luyendyk and the Team Menard cars battled last year for the top spot in practice. When it came to qualifying, Luyendyk won the war by sitting on the pole for the 1997 Indy 500. Luyendyk's top speed today was 219.207 mph.
The afternoon practice session was stopped at 3:30 p.m. to pay tribute to a true Indianapolis hero. Parnelli Jones toured the track in his 1963 winning Indy racer. Jones visits this track each year and talked about his fond memories of "The Brickyard" and racing in general.
"I enjoy coming here year after year. Racing is a brotherhood." Parnelli said, "I remember fighting each week on the race track with guys like Foyt and Rutherford. We were intense rivals. But, if you tried to say something bad about any one of us, you had trouble on your hands."
1. Robbie Buhl 219.325
2. Arie Luyendyk 219.207
3. Scott Sharp 219.101
4. Jimmy Kite 218.765
5. Eddie Cheever 218.066
6. Mark Dismore 217.759
7. Davey Hamilton 216.648
8. Tone Stewart 216.570
9. J.J. Yeley 216.403
10. Stephan Gregoire 216.351