Bell leads morning practice at Indy
|By Matt Beer||Saturday, May 16th 2009, 16:01 GMT|
Townsend Bell continued KV Racing Technology's very strong form by topping a rain-delayed morning practice session ahead of third qualifying at Indianapolis.
The session began nearly an hour late after strenuous efforts to dry the track following earlier rain, and was twice paused to allow further drizzle to pass.
Bell was quickest for much of the 45 minutes of running that eventually took place, swapping the top spot occasionally with Rahal Letterman's Oriol Servia.
Both drivers' Indianapolis 500 deals were for the second half of the month only, so they did not compete in last weekend's opening two days of qualifying.
The same applies to Tomas Scheckter, who was fourth fastest for Dale Coyne Racing this morning, whereas Robert Doornbos - who took third in the warm-up session - had to sit out first qualifying due to practice crashes that sidelined his Newman/Haas/Lanigan entry.
Two other men who missed out on top 22 grid spots due to accidents - Alex Tagliani (Conquest) and John Andretti (Dreyer & Reinbold/Richard Petty) were sixth and seventh, behind HVM's EJ Viso, who was bumped out in the final minute of last Sunday's qualifying session by Scott Sharp.
With 36 drivers having now entered the race, three drivers are set to miss out today and have to try and grab a spot on Bump Day tomorrow. Nelson Philippe (HVM), Mike Conway (Dreyer & Reinbold) and Stanton Barrett (3G) were the slowest of the currently non-qualified drivers in practice, although Bruno Junqueira has yet to take to the track after putting together a late deal with Conquest Racing.
Only a handful of the drivers already securely in the race took part in this morning's session, as just Marco Andretti, Dan Wheldon and AJ Foyt IV decided to get some more practice with their race set-ups.
The rain interruptions this morning mean that today's qualifying session will start around half an hour later than planned.
Pos Driver Team Time Speed 1. Townsend Bell KV 40.2540s 223.580mph 2. Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman 40.4048s 222.746mph 3. Robert Doornbos Newman/Haas/Lanigan 40.6487s 221.409mph 4. Tomas Scheckter Coyne 40.7027s 221.116mph 5. EJ Viso HVM 40.7057s 221.099mph 6. Alex Tagliani Conquest 40.8306s 220.423mph 7. John Andretti Petty/Dreyer & Reinbold 40.8627s 220.250mph 8. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 40.9393s 219.838mph 9. Buddy Lazier Hemelgarn 41.0007s 219.508mph 10. Ryan Hunter-Reay Vision 41.0248s 219.379mph 11. Nelson Philippe HVM 41.0389s 219.304mph 12. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 41.1725s 218.593mph 13. Stanton Barrett 3G 41.2730s 218.060mph 14. Marco Andretti Andretti Green 41.2756s 218.046mph 15. Dan Wheldon Panther 41.2913s 217.964mph 16. AJ Foyt IV Foyt 41.4239s 217.266mph