Thursday notebook: Crashes and spins

Three drivers experienced crashes and spins in Thursday's practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Just 46 minutes into the session, Jim Guthrie spun in the south chute exiting pit road and came to a stop inside Turn 2.

Thursday notebook: Crashes and spins

"You never think an accident can happen in the warm-up lane," Guthrie said. "This is the stupidest thing I have done in 27 years of racing. I was already in Turn 3 in my mind and wasn't paying attention."

Jeret Schroeder crashed PDM's only race car with just over an hour in Thursday's practice left. Schroeder was involved in an 11-car crash at Atlanta Motor Speedway on April 28 and his team wasn't able to get a car on the track until Thursday. Schroeder backed the car into the second turn wall with a hard crash, but the team believes it can repair the car in time for Friday's practice session,

"I'm OK, just a little sore," Schroeder said. "The car felt great. I got into the middle of Turn 2, and it just snapped around on me quickly. I hope we can get back in the running. At this point, I don't know."

With 16 minutes of practice left, Brandon Erwin brushed the wall in the second turn, damaging the suspension of his car.

"It's been a very tough day today," Erwin said. "We're trying some new stuff in our front-end package, some new springs. We had a major push in the front end. I was pushing it just a little too hard and ran out of room coming out of Turn 2. I guess a soft brush against the wall is a lot better than a hard hit here at Indianapolis. We will take it back tonight and get it ready for Friday. Rain would be a major setback for us tomorrow."



Stephan Gregoire of France has struggled all month in both of his cars for Dick Simon Racing, leading the team to search for another driver to shake down the car. Gregoire's fastest lap of the month was 214.284 mph in a Dallara-Oldsmobile Aurora and 206.641 mph in a G Force-Aurora.

Team owner Dick Simon asked former CART and NASCAR driver Scott Pruett to shake down the car, but was turned down. Eliseo Salazar, who drives for AJ Foyt, also turned down the request. Simon is hoping to put former Indy 500 pole winner Roberto Guerrero in the car on Friday in an effort to find more speed before turning the car back over to Gregoire.

"We've tried for five days to find some speed," Gregoire said. "We thought we had some challenges with the Dallara (that he crashed at Phoenix), and we tried a G Force today. I am really confused. We put on the new update kit, which means we should go faster than last year, but we just can't find the speed for some reason. I have asked Dick Simon a lot of questions; and for a lot of help, but right now I just can't explain why we can't find the speed.

"I hear a driver at Indianapolis can lose confidence. The car tells me, and my right leg tells me to back off the throttle. I have to trust myself."



So far this month, Greg Ray has been successful keeping team owner John Menard from letting loose of another race car in the Indianapolis 500. Ray believes his best shot at winning the Indy 500 is to be a one-car effort at Team Menard.

"I think our game plan is to run one car," Ray said. "We have the guys to run one car. We don't have the people to run two cars. Any time you do something at the last minute, you give yourself an opportunity to have an excuse and that is what we are trying not to do. We are putting all of our eggs in one basket, commit to that basket and see if we can carry that basket across the finish line.

"I don't own the race team and I don't make John Menard do a damn thing. But I think our relationship has grown, we know what the plan is and that is what we are going to do."

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