Ganassi top rain-shortened practice
|By Jeff Olson||Thursday, May 15th 2008, 03:31 GMT|
The guys who were fastest Saturday continued to be the fastest Wednesday as preparation resumed for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.
Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon had the fastest laps during an abbreviated and hurried practice session Wednesday that lasted about 51 minutes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dixon recorded a lap of 222.834 mph in the No. 9 Ganassi Honda/Dallara, while Wheldon was clocked at 222.810 mph in the No. 10 car.
"We just wanted to see how the car handled in traffic," said Dixon, who completed just 17 laps. "Everybody was out there, so we got to run in traffic a little bit and see how the balance was. We have a little bit of understeer, especially in traffic."
Wednesday's session, the first track activity since pole qualifying Saturday, was delayed and shortened because of rain. It didn't begin until 5 pm ET, then was cut short at 5:51 pm when the rain resumed.
The bulk of the 390 laps recorded Wednesday occurred after 5:30, and just two drivers - Hideki Mutoh and Will Power - topped 25 laps.
"Assuming it will rain again tomorrow, it was good that we got some track time today," Mutoh said. "We were able to try some of the setup changes on the car, and we were able to get a pretty balanced car, so we are happy with what we were able to accomplish in such a short time."
Just below the two Ganassi drivers atop the speed chart were three Andretti Green Racing pilots - Marco Andretti, Mutoh and Danica Patrick.
The most surprising appearance on the chart came from John Andretti, who replaced Jay Howard in the Roth Racing No. 24 Honda/Dallara last weekend. Andretti was clocked sixth-fastest of the session, followed by Buddy Rice, Enrique Bernoldi, Townsend Bell and Bruno Junqueira.
"I'm not worried about the race; I'm worried about qualifying," Andretti said. "I don't have a lot of experience with these cars right now."
The 51-minute session was critical and busy because of previous and future rainouts. Regulars had just 12 hours of practice last week before pole qualifying Saturday. The following day's qualifying session was rained out, making for a busy session on this Saturday's card.
Those already qualified are expected to make use of any and all practice time during Saturday and Sunday qualifying sessions.
Adding to the sense of anxiety is the threat of more rain Thursday. If that session is rained out, just one more practice day - Friday - will be available before the final weekend of qualifying.
"I'm going to guess the safety trucks have done more laps than we have this month," said Ed Carpenter, who will start tenth in the race May 25. "We've missed so much track time that we'll be using Saturday and Sunday to run."
While some drivers fretted over track time, others worked toward last-minute possibilities. Among those trolling the garages were Jaques Lazier and Alex Barron, who was thought to be in line for the Beck Motorsports No. 98 ride that went to Roger Yasukawa.
"Every year something happens," Barron said. "It's unpredictable. I just need to make sure I'm around, and hopefully I'll get a chance."
Practice is scheduled to resume Thursday at noon ET, but a 70 percent chance of rain is in the forecast.
Pos Driver Team Speed 1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 222.834 mph 2. Dan Wheldon Ganassi 222.810 mph 3. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 222.801 mph 4. Hideki Mutoh Andretti Green 221.868 mph 5. Danica Patrick Andretti Green 221.683 mph 6. John Andretti Roth 221.386 mph 7. Buddy Rice Dreyer & Reinbold 220.277 mph 8. Enrique Bernoldi Conquest 220.105 mph 9. Townsend Bell Dreyer & Reinbold 220.020 mph 10. Bruno Junqueira Dale Coyne 219.981 mph 11. Will Power KV 219.953 mph 12. Oriol Servia KV 219.896 mph 13. Max Papis Schmidt 219.654 mph 14. Ed Carpenter Vision 219.645 mph 15. Darren Manning AJ Foyt 219.579 mph 16. A.J. Foyt IV Vision 219.530 mph 17. Mario Dominguez Pacific Coast 219.319 mph 18. Alex Lloyd Rahal Letterman 219.180 mph 19. Sarah Fisher Sarah Fisher 218.617 mph 20. Jaime Camara Conquest 218.406 mph 21. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan 218.134 mph 22. Jeff Simmons AJ Foyt 216.907 mph 23. Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan 214.762 mph 24. Marty Roth Roth 213.691 mph 25. Roger Yasukawa Beck 212.349 mph 26. Mario Moraes Dale Coyne 191.086 mph 27. Ryan Hunter-Reay Rahal Letterman 107.525 mph 28. EJ Viso HVM 105.927 mph 29. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 84.288 mph