IRL, Indy 500: Carlson 15th fastest after day one of qualifying
24 May 1999INDIANAPOLIS: Popular Indianapolis native Tyce Carlson put the Bluegreen Resorts/Damon's Ribs Dallara-Aurora solidly in the field for the 83rd Indy 500 Saturday with a four-lap average qualifying speed of 221.322 mph. The performance put Carlson 15th on the grid. Two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk took the pole with a speed of 225.179 mph.
Carlson's qualifying run came in the early afternoon, shortly after a fast practice session in the morning, which was cool and cloudy. Track conditions changed throughout the day, causing speeds to drop.
"We had a huge push in Turn One on the third lap, and I had to get out of it to keep it off the wall," Carlson said. "Then on the next lap, you anticipate theat push so you're a little more conservative. It's not the 224.9 we ran this morning. We left the setup alone, but the track got hotter, so the air was thinner, so the car didn't have as much downforce, which gave us the push."
"But after what happened last year, when we crashed on Saturday and weren't able to participate, we're just real happy to be in the field. We know we can race with anybody."
This is Carlson's first full season with Blueprint-Immke racing, and he is very confident for a strong race and a productive remainder of the season.
"We've got a great bunch of guys on the team, and everyone has done a tremendous job," Carlson said. "Last year we made a few mistakes, but this season we've got the right people in the right places, and the whole thing is coming together. We've got the taste. Once you get a taste of running up front and being competitive, you want more."