IRL, Indy 500: Ray Back on Top at 227 MPH, Fastest for the Month
21 May 1999INDIANAPOLIS - Greg Ray is back on the top of the speed charts at the Indianapolis 500, turning a lap of 227.192 mph in the backup Glidden-Menards Dallara/Aurora/Firestone during practice Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Ray, from Plano, Texas, posted the fastest lap of the event with only 13 minutes remaining in practice, topping the previous best lap of 226.683 posted by Tony Stewart on Wednesday. Ray has been in the top five all six days of practice for the premier Pep Boys Indy Racing League event. "It feels nice to be this consistently quick with this group (of drivers)," Ray said. "We regard our competitors very highly. We're not taking anything for granted by any means.
"Tomorrow, we'll try to go even faster because we'll need every bit of speed we can get. But more importantly, we'll need to keep it off the walls."
The practice before Pole Day takes place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday. Pole Day is Saturday; Race Day May 30.
Robby Unser was second fastest in the primary PetroMoly-Team Pelfrey Dallara/Aurora/Firestone at 225.079, only .006 of a mph faster than Arie Luyendyk at 225.073 in the primary Sprint PCS/Meijer G Force/Aurora/Firestone.
Stephan Gregoire was fourth fastest at 224.792, his best lap of the event in the primary Mexmil-Tokheim G Force/Aurora/Firestone. Buddy Lazier was fifth fastest in the primary Delta Faucet-Coors Light/Tae-Bo/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear at 224.361.
Defending race champion Eddie Cheever Jr. was sixth fastest at 224.193 in the backup Team Cheever-The Children's Beverage Group Dallara/Infiniti/Goodyear.
Pep Boys Indy Racing League points leader Scott Goodyear ran 223.170 in the backup Pennzoil Panther G Force/Aurora/Goodyear, 14th fastest for the day.
Stewart crashed in Turns 3 and 4 with only 50 minutes remaining in practice, causing light damage to the right side of The Home Depot Dallara/Aurora/Goodyear. He was unhurt. Stewart will not practice tomorrow due to his commitments to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series event in Charlotte, N.C.
Johnny Unser also was unhurt in an accident in the morning. Forty drivers in 50 cars combined to complete 1,906 laps. The most cars on track during a practice day for the Indianapolis 500 was 55 on May 12, 1995.
1960 Indianapolis 500 winner Jim Rathmann was honored as part of Indy Racing Legends Week at the Speedway.