Dismore fastest on Tuesday; Mears crashes

The fastest of the fast is saved for Happy Hour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last hour of practice each day leading up to the run for the Indianapolis 500 pole. Mark Dismore of nearby Greenfield, Indiana restored a little Hoosier pride on Tuesday as he ran the fastest lap of the week at 224.823 miles per hour.

Dismore fastest on Tuesday; Mears crashes

Dismore ran the lap in the final four minutes of practice on Tuesday in a Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora. He posted the fastest lap of the day after the final hour of practice was delayed for 26 minutes after rookie Casey Mears crashed in the first turn. Arie Luyendyk, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, spun to avoid the crash, but his car suffered minor damage.

Mears was awake and alert and transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for evaluation. He was complaining of lower back pain. He is undergoing precautionary X-rays of his back and if there are not further
problems, he will be released later Tuesday night.

On the lap prior to Mears' crash, Luyendyk had posted what was then the fastest lap of the day at 223.986mph in a G Force-Oldsmobile. That was before Dismore laid down his fast lap.

"It's real important for my guys that work on my race car," Dismore said. "How many hours these guys work on these cars, they probably only make US$5 an hour. It's really for them, I'm just proud to drive the car.

"I'll sleep good tonight. We have a lot of information on both cars (Scott Sharp is his team mate). Now that they have added another weekend to the schedule, we'll have three more days to work on things."

Dismore believes he blew a good shot at the pole last year when Greg Ray and Juan Pablo Montoya took the two top positions.

"I screwed myself last year," Dismore said. "I had a car that I think I could have contended with in the race. I think I could have raced Montoya last year. I could have had a front row starting position last year and on the day before pole day on cold tyres, I lost it and tore my car up. We couldn't get the back-up car that good. I'm trying to learn from my mistakes."

Greg Ray said on Monday that the pole would be over 226 miles per hour.

"I'll buy that, but to do it for four laps consecutively and keep the car under you, I'm not sure about that," Dismore said. "You will probably have to have one or two laps that fast. You have to try to make the car do the same thing in all four corners.

"What I did today will not win the pole. There are a lot of teams that are not showing all they have got, including us."

Dismore is using an Oldsmobile engine prepared by Ilmor Engineering, which built the Mercedes-Benz engines in CART before that car company withdrew from that series. So far this year, the Ilmor has suffered some reliability issues but Dismore remains confident of a better product.

"Those guys have had six months to do what everybody else has done in four and a half years," Dismore said. "We've run a lot of miles and so far, it's been flawless."

After the track closed for the day, Luyendyk described what he had to avoid when Mears crashed.

"When I came into Turn 1, I saw the smoke, then I saw the debris," Luyendyk said. "I wanted to move over to the middle and try to dodge him. When I made that little move, I spun. When I spun, I hit the brakes as hard as I could. I never hit anything, so I was lucky.

"The track wasn't that busy when I was running because I could find the hole every time. It wasn't rush hour that's for sure. We ran 222.5 during the hottest time of the day, earlier, so I feel good about it."

Luyendyk is coming out of a one-year retirement to try to win the Indianapolis 500 for the third time.

"I never thought about coming out of retirement being a bad idea," Luyendyk said. "I said on the radio to my crew chief, Skip Faul, `Man, I'm a lucky son of a (bleep) because I didn't hit anything'."

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