Ward takes Brack's seat

Even though he has yet to win his first Indy car race, Jeff Ward is driving the entry that won last year's Indianapolis 500 when Kenny Brack was its driver

Ward takes Brack's seat

Ward is the driver of A.J. Foyt's famed No. 14 car this year as successor to Brack, who is now driving for Bobby Rahal in CART.

"I'd love to get my first win, I know that," Ward said. "A.J.'s been there a few times, and that's what we're here for.

"I've been competitive pretty much every time I've run here, except the one year I got hit in the pits (1998). I've been there at the finish. The other teams I've been with have been underfunded and didn't have the resources that A.J. has, and that's what I needed last year."

This is Ward's fourth Indianapolis 500. He drove to third place from a seventh-place start as a team-mate to Eddie Cheever Jr in 1997 and earned the Bank One Rookie of the Year Award.

He started 27th in 1998 driving for ISM and worked his way up to 13th at the finish. Last year he switched to Pagan Racing. After starting 14th at Indy, he chased Brack home to the chequered flag, 6.562 seconds back.

"I didn't have the power Kenny had," Ward said. "I was able to stay ahead of him if he was behind me because I was blocking his air and messing him up a little bit. But once he got ahead of me, I didn't have the power to stay with him."

Ward has learned that Foyt is smart about choosing practice strategies. Foyt knows the speed he wants. Even if the driver wants to push it higher, Ward said, Foyt will bring in the car and check it over.

"He's probably been there so many times where he feels the car is getting good, does a little change, goes out and does something and hits the wall,"

Ward said. "You go step by step, make sure that next jump is thoroughly thought out. It's a 'Let's go see what happens' type of deal. As soon as you're comfortable and say the car feels good, he'll say, 'O.K., let's go back (to the garage).' That's why we only get 15 laps. We check everything over and look into what we're going to do next time.

"He does it real methodical and has his way he wants to do it."

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