By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune/Chicago Sun-Times News Group — May 11, 2007
Dan Wheldon’s top speed of the month lasted exactly one day.
His lap of 226.391 miles per hour set yesterday afternoon was surpassed by his Target Chip Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon, who posted a 226.473 mph lap on the shade-covered oval, just minutes before the track closed for the day.
Wheldon not to be forgotten, ran 226.206 mph, just a shade under his top speed yesterday.
But what was even more revealing was how many of other drivers also picked up the pace. Danica Patrick in her No. 7 Motorola Andretti-Green Dallara/Honda greatly improved her performance and set a personal best for 2007 with a lap of 226.358 mph, the third fastest overall lap at the Brickyard this month.
It was Patrick who when asked if she was encountering more pressure to win, said yesterday, “I do feel more pressure this year. I think that many things contribute to that though. As the years go on you get more impatient.” She later stated “I think that there’s obviously many people that have invested into me and into performing well and winning races. So I want to return that. I want to do it. I want to do it more for me than for them though.
Joining Patrick as some of those who registered new found speed were Aussie Ryan Briscoe in the No. 12 Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing Honda/Dallara, who clocked his personal month’s best at 225.995 mph. Marco Andretti also posted his month’s best at 225.881 mph in his No. 26 NYSE Andretti-Green Honda/Dallara.
A sign of the progress being made was that 25 drivers have now broken the 220 mile mark with nine of them today over 225 miles per hour.The days practice pace picked up steadily during the afternoon with 26 cars challenging the asphalt oval.
The late hour rush of speed today saw track temperatures at 124 degrees with ambient being 85 degrees.
As we enter into the first qualifying weekend, there are 40 cars at the Speedway, with 39 of them already passing technical inspection. Twenty nine drivers have run laps on the track. There have been a total of 3,637 laps run this month, with 1,238 being run today. Rookie Milka Duno has turned 209 laps, the most of any competitor at the speedway.
But for every driver pleased with their progress, it was Sam Hornish, driver of the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda who gave those who would listen, a peak into the future, when he said today after running 225.803 mph, “We definitely think there’s more in the Team Penske car, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
“Fast Friday” is upon us.
Top Ten Speeds for the Day
Scott Dixon — Target Chip Ganassi #9 — 226.473
Danica Patrick — Andretti-Green #7 — 226.358
Dan Wheldon – Target Chip Ganassi #10 — 226.206
Tomas Scheckter – Vision Racing #2 — 226.161
Ryan Briscoe — Symantec Luczo Dragon Racing #12 — 225.995
Marco Andretti – Andretti-Green #26 — 225.881
Sam Hornish Jr. – Team Penske #6 — 225.803.
Vitor Meira — Delphi Panther #4 — 225.441
Kosuke Matsuura – Panther Racing #55 — 225.350
Helio Castroneves – Team Penske #3 — 225.095