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1996 Indianapolis 500
Daily Trackside Report

Notes

DAY 9 -Qualifying- SUNDAY, MAY 12

Facts, Trivia, Records on Pole Day (compiled by historian Bob Watson):

  • Menard teammates Scott Brayton and Tony Stewart set one- and four-lap records Saturday. The last year, prior to this, when teammates recorded one- and four-lap records was 1989 by Al Unser and Rick Mears of Penske Racing.
  • Ten-lap qualification runs were held in 1935. Kelly Petillo set a new 10-lap record that year (121.687 miles per hour), but it was disallowed because he used 1 5/8 pints of fuel over the permitted three gallons. Petillo went on to win the 1935 Indianapolis 500.
  • Nine drivers in "500" history have qualified on the pole in back-to-back years: Scott Brayton, 1995-96; Rick Mears, 1988-89; Tom Sneva, 1977-78; A.J. Foyt, 1974-75; Mario Andretti, 1966-67; Parnelli Jones, 1962-63; Eddie Sachs, 1960-61; Rex Mays, 1935-36; and Ralph DePalma, 1920-21.
  • All three 1996 front-row qualifiers -- Davy Jones, Tony Stewart and Scott Brayton -- set new one- and four-lap track records. The only other time this has happened is 1964 with Jimmy Clark, Bobby Marshman and Rodger Ward.
  • The 1996 front row is the fastest starting row in Indianapolis 500 history with a three-car average of 233.233 miles per hour. The previous record was held by the 1995 front row at 231.131 miles per hour.
  • The last time that at least two drivers with no previous front row experience (Tony Stewart and Davy Jones in 1996) started on the front row was 1992, when Roberto Guerrero started on the pole and Eddie Cheever started alongside.
  • Tony Stewart's start on the front row is the first for a rookie since Teo Fabi started on the 1983 pole.
  • Davy Jones' best previous starting position at Indianapolis was 28th in his rookie year of 1987 and also in 1993. His best previous speed rank in the field was 10th in 1987.
  • The last time both one- and four-lap track records were set on two different qualifying days was 1960, when Jim Rathmann, then Eddie Sachs achieved the feat on Pole Day (May 14), then Jim Hurtubise broke the marks on May 22.
  • Scott Brayton's qualified #2 entry became the fastest withdrawn car in Speedway history at a 231.535 miles per hour average. The fastest previous withdrawn car was one driven by Christian Fittipaldi to a qualifying average of 225.246 in 1995. The car Fittipaldi qualified and withdrew in 1995 was qualified in 1996 by Buzz Calkins at an average speed of 229.013.
  • Before Saturday, Andre Ribeiro was the fastest rookie qualifier in Speedway history at 226.495 in 1995. Seven rookies bettered Ribeiro's 1995 speed on Saturday. They were: Tony Stewart (233.100), Michel Jourdain Jr. (229.380), Buzz Calkins (229.013), Davey Hamilton (228.887), Michele Alboreto (228.229), Mark Dismore (227.260) and Richie Hearn (226.521).
  • In 1981, Mexico's Josele Garza, at age 19, was the fastest rookie in the field, started sixth and had a speed rank of ninth. In 1996, Mexico's Michel Jourdain Jr., at age 19, is presently the second fastest rookie and has a speed rank of ninth after the first qualifying day. Jourdain Jr. drove for Garza's Formula 2 team in Mexico last year. The car Jourdain Jr. qualified at 229.380 was qualified last year by Michael Andretti at 229.294.
  • The car qualified at 226.115 miles per hour by Johnny Unser is the same car that Scott Goodyear drove to a front-row starting spot and used to lead the race in 1995.
  • The #32 car qualified for the pole position by Scott Brayton was the car that Arie Luyendyk used to qualify for the No. 2 starting spot in 1995.
  • Field average for 20 cars is 228.959 miles per hour, a gain of 1.579 miles per hour over the 20-car average for the 1995 field, which was 227.380.

In the morning practice, Arie Luyendyk in the #5 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating & Cooling entry turned a lap at 237.567 miles per hour at 11:14 a.m. Scott Sharp in the #11 Conseco AJ Foyt Racing entry turned a lap at 232.474 mph. They were the only two drivers to exceed 230.

12:10 p.m.  #5 ARIE LUYENDYK/Scottsdale, AZ
               Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria/Bryant Heating & Cooling - 95 R/F/F

QA - 25  1 -- 38.097 -- 236.239   Q - 23
         2 -- 37.983 -- 236.948   Locked In
         3 -- 37.933 -- 237.260
         4 -- 37.895 -- 237.498
          T 2:31.908 -- 236.986

The 21 car field average is 229.329.

12:17 p.m. #41 MARCO GRECO/Sao Paulo, Brazil
               AJ Foyt Enterprises - 94 L/F/G

QA - 26  1 -- 39.440 -- 228.195    Q - 24
         2 -- 39.264 -- 229.218
         3 -- 39.392 -- 228.473
         4 -- 39.219 -- 229.481
          T 2:37.315 -- 228.840

The 22 car field average is 229.307.

1:53 p.m. #10 BRAD MURPHEY/Tucson, AZ
              HEMELGARN Racing - 94 R/F/F
QA - 27  1 -- engine trouble --    UA - 1

Widest spreads between pole sitter and fastest qualifier speeds are as follows:

1946 - Ralph Hepburn (FQ)  133.944 mph
     - Cliff Bergere (P)   126.471 mph
Difference                   7.473 mph

1931 - Billy Arnold (FQ)   116.080 mph
     - Russ Snowberger (P) 112.796 mph
Difference                   3.284 mph

1996 - Arie Luyendyk (FQ)   236.986 mph
     - Scott Brayton (P)    233.718 mph
Difference                    3.268 mph

The last time prior to 1996 when the pole and fastest qualifier speeds were split between a pair of drivers was in 1991. In 1991, Rick Mears (224.113 mph) sat on the pole and Gary Bettenhausen (224.468 mph) was the fastest qualifier.

Leon Duray and Chet Miller are the only drivers to have set new qualification records on two separate qualification attempts in the same year. On May 26, 1928, Duray set a new one-lap record on an incomplete run and then returned later in the day to successfully qualify for the race with a new four-lap record. On May 24, 1952, Chet Miller established a new one-lap record on an incomplete run and then returned two days later to successfully qualify for the race with a new four-lap record. Arie Luyendyk set one- (234.742 mph) and four-lap (233.390 mph) track records on the first day of 1996 qualifications in car #5, but lost those marks when his qualification run was disallowed. Arie Luyendyk returned the second day of qualifications in car #35 (the exempt car) to post a new one- (237.498 mph) and four-lap (236.986 mph) track records.

In 1963, Parnelli Jones set new one- and four-lap qualification records, and a new 500 mile race record for fastest winning speed. Jones is the only driver to set and hold all three records, simultaneously, in the same year. Rick Mears nearly duplicated Parnelli's feat when he managed to set new marks for all three categories in 1984, but wound up holding on the race record after having had his new qualification records erased by 1984 pole sitter, Tom Sneva. Arie Luyendyk currently holds the race record (185.981 mph) set in 1990 and the one- (237.498 mph) and four-lap (236.986 mph) records set in 1996.

Prior to 1996, there were 5 occasions when the fastest qualifier set a new four-lap record, but did not qualify on the pole. Those 5 occasions were 1960 (Jim Hurtubise), 1955 (Jack McGrath), 1952 (Chet Miller), 1951 (Walt Faulkner) and 1946 (Ralph Hepburn). In addition, there were two occasions when the fastest qualifier set a ten-lap record but did not qualify on the pole. Those two occasions were 1938 (Ronney Householder) and 1937 (Jimmy Snyder). Ten-lap qualification runs were utilized in the years 1933 through 1938.

Track temperature at 1:55 p.m. was 102 degrees as reported by the Firestone Tire Engineers.

3:13 p.m. #11 SCOTT SHARP/Danville, CA
              Conseco AJ Foyt Racing - 95 L/F/G
              (2nd attempt)
QA - 28  1 --39.040 -- 230.533   Q  - 25
         2 --38.967 -- 230.965   Locked In
         3 --38.861 -- 231.595
         4 --38.841 -- 231.714
         T 2:35.709 -- 231.201

The 23 car field average is 229.388.

3:49 p.m. #96 PAUL DURANT/Manteca, CA
              ABF Motorsports USA Sunrise Rental Canada - 92 L/B/G

QA - 29  1 -- 39.994 -- 225.034   Q - 26
         2 -- 39.898 -- 225.575
         3 -- 39.794 -- 226.165
         4 -- 40.027 -- 224.848
          T 2:39.713 -- 225.404

The 24 car field average is 229.220.

By virtue of Lyn St. James being the first qualifier on Pole Day, she becomes the only woman driver to ever hold the pole position at the Indianapolis 500. She held it for five minutes at a speed of 224.594 until Buddy Lazier bumped her from the top spot with a speed of 231.468.

4:58 p.m. #54 ROBBIE BUHL/Grosse Pointe, MI
              Original Coors/Beck Motorsports - 94 L/F/F

QA - 30  1 -- 39.672 -- 226.860   Q - 27
         2 -- 39.639 -- 227.049   Locked In
         3 -- 39.832 -- 225.949
         4 -- 39.996 -- 225.023
          T 2:39.139 -- 226.217

The 25 car field average is 229.098.

5:57 p.m. #90 RACIN GARDNER/Las Vegas, CA
              Team Scandia/Slick Gardner Enterprises - 94 L/F/G

QA - 31  1 -- 40.082 -- 224.540   Q - 28
         2 -- 40.012 -- 224.933   Locked In
         3 -- 40.150 -- 224.159
         4 -- 40.146 -- 224.182
          T 2:40.390 -- 224.453

The 26 car field average is 228.916.

Marco Antonio, Mark Cassella, Tero Palmroth, Andy Michner and Bill Rose have passed driver physicals, bringing the total to 60, according to Dr. Henry Bock, Speedway Medical Director.

Johnny O'Connell and Scott Harrington each passed the first two phases of his driver's test today.

Qualifying order for Saturday, May 18: #99 TBA; #10 Murphey; #23 TBA; #84 TBA; #15 Bell; #25 Gosek; #36 Drinan; #75 O'Connell; #39 Harrington; #43 TBA.

16 cars were on the track today, running 478 laps. Cars on track today: #5 Luyendyk; #10 Murphey; #11 Sharp; #15 Gosek; #21 Guerrero; #36 Drinan; #39 Scott Harrington, Harrington Motorsports/LP Racing; #41 Greco; #45 St. James; #54 Buhl; #64 Unser; #70 Jones; #75 Johnny O'Connell, Mechanics Laundry/Cunningham Racing; #90 Gardner; #91 Lazier; #96 Durant;

A total of 47 cars are now at the Speedway, 43 have passed technical inspection and none are in the process. 35 drivers have been on the track to date. There were 12 yellows for 1 hour, 53 minutes. Temperature at 5:30 p.m. was 52 degrees, with winds out of the north at 9 mph.

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