Montoya Sets Pace In Shortened Practice
May 17, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
INDIANAPOLIS -- Juan Montoya turned the fastest lap, 221.566 mph, Wednesday during Indianapolis 500 practice that lasted only 33 minutes because of rain.
Practice started 24 minutes past the 11 a.m. EST scheduled start because of morning rain and was halted at 11:57 a.m. because of thunderstorms. Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials closed the track for the day at 4 p.m. after another wave of showers thwarted attempts to dry the 2.5-mile oval.
When the track was open, reigning CART champion Montoya wasted little time climbing to the top of the speed charts in his No. 9 G Force-Oldsmobile, turning his fast lap just four minutes into the session on his sixth lap of the day. Montoya completed just nine laps.
"I think the car has been really good, but today didn't do much," Montoya said. "We didn't get in both cars, so we'll see. You've got to make the car better, handlingwise. "We're not worried about how the car handles in traffic yet. We have to make it go fast before anything else."
1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier was second fastest at 221.510 in the No. 91 Dallara-Oldsmobile. Scott Sharp, fastest May 16, was third fastest at 220.886 in his Dallara-Oldsmobile.
Sharp's teammate, Mark Dismore, was fourth fastest at 220.395 in the No. 28T Dallara-Oldsmobile.
Montoya's teammate, Jimmy Vasser, was fifth fastest in the No. 10T G Force-Oldsmobile at 219.800.
Seventeen drivers were on the track during the brief practice, completing 217 laps. Reigning Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion Greg Ray was sixth fastest at 219.674 in the No. 1 Dallara-Oldsmobile, and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. was ninth best at 218.183 in the No. 3T G Force-Oldsmobile.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears visited the Speedway as part of the weeklong Legends of the Speedway celebration. Mears, who won the 500 in 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1991, dodged raindrops to take ceremonial laps in the Gould Charge that he drove to victory in 1979.
1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti will be saluted Thursday. Andretti will drive ceremonial laps around the track.