IRL, Indy 500: Consistent Goodyear Takes Over Top Spot
19 May 1999INDIANAPOLIS- Pep Boys Indy Racing League points leader Scott Goodyear led all drivers in the shortened fourth day of practice for the 83rd Indianapolis 500 at 223.842 mph in the backup Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear.
Goodyear, from Carmel, Ind., became the first driver to knock Team Menard driver Greg Ray from the top spot since practice started May 15. Goodyear has been among the five fastest drivers each of the four days of practice as he seeks his first Indianapolis 500 victory.
"We're not focusing on the pole," Goodyear said. "We're just working on setting up the car with different conditions. We don't have a qualifying program like some teams. We were surprised when we rolled off the trailer Sunday and ran what we did."
Unlike Monday, in which practice was halted about two hours early due to rain, the start of practice Tuesday was postponed three hours due to wet track conditions.
Practice resumes from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday on the 2.5-mile oval. Pole Day is May 22; Race Day May 30. Stephan Gregoire was second fastest in the #7 Mexmil-Tokheim G Force/Aurora/Firestone at 223.647, more than 4 mph faster than his previous best this month. Reigning Pep Boys Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack was third fastest for the second day in a row at 223.447.
Ray showed consistency in the #2 and #32 Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone cars, finishing fourth and fifth fastest for the day at 223.214 and 223.409, respectively.
Defending race champion Eddie Cheever Jr. was sixth fastest at 222.999 in his backup car, his fastest speed of the month with either of his Infiniti Indy-powered Team Cheever-The Children's Beverage Group Dallara entries.
Dr. Jack Miller posted a fast lap of 222.519 in the #17 Dean's Milk Chug Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear, seventh best and 2 mph faster than his previous best this month. Miller is a teammate of 1996-97 Pep Boys Indy Racing Le ague champion Tony Stewart, who is competing as a driver/owner at this event in the #22 Home Depot Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford was honored as part of the Indy Racing Legends Week. Rutherford drove ceremonial laps in the Cummins Diesel driven in the 1952 Indianapolis 500 by Freddie Agabashian.
Short-track champions from throughout the country will be honored Wednesday during Champions Day at the Speedway.