Sharp Fastest Of Day Month At Indy
May 17, 2000 | 12:00 A.M. EST
INDIANAPOLIS -- Scott Sharp, Juan Montoya and Jimmy Vasser added their names to the lengthy list of Indianapolis 500 PPG Pole contenders Tuesday by taking the top-three positions in practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sharp, driving the No. 8 Dallara-Oldsmobile, nearly broke the 224-mph barrier with a lap of 223.936 during Happy Hour, the final hour of practice when track conditions are most ideal for higher speeds.
"The Delphi team has been working really hard," Sharp said. "It was great to be able to do that and get them pumped up for all the long nights they've been putting in.
"The car's pretty good on the long run. Then we decided to see what the car could do. We took out a little wing thinking we could get in the 222s. Then, wow, I saw it pop up there (on the dash), and we decided to come in. It's only Tuesday, and you have to put four of those laps together."
Montoya, the defending CART FedEx Championship Series, sat atop the speed chart for most of the afternoon with a lap of 222.102 in the No. 9 G Force-Oldsmobile entered by Target-Chip Ganassi Racing. Vasser was third in the No. 10 G Force-Oldsmobile at 221.773.
"The car is really good," Montoya said. "I am happy with the speed we got in the half day we ran. We made some changes but didn't get a chance to get back out again. So we'll see how they run tomorrow."
Persistent showers halted practice in the early afternoon for nearly three hours.
Greg Ray, the defending Indy Racing Northern Light Series champion, was fourth fastest in the No. 1 Dallara-Oldsmobile at 221.740, and Stephan Gregoire was fifth at 221.397 in the No. 7 G Force-Oldsmobile.
1996-97 Indy Racing champion Tony Stewart, who is part-owner of the Tri Star Motorsports team, turned 11 laps in the No. 6 Dallara-Oldsmobile normally driven by Jeret Schroeder. Stewart recorded a fast lap of 218.123.
Two drivers were unhurt in accidents.
At 4:51 p.m., Donnie Beechler’s No. 98 Dallara-Oldsmobile hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 1 and Turn 2, inflicting heavy damage to the left side of the car.
At 5:20 p.m., the Dan Drinan’s No. 93 Dallara-Oldsmobile hit the outside retaining wall in Turn 1, causing heavy damage to the left side of the car.
Thirty-four drivers were on the track Tuesday, completing 1,121 laps.
Two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi visited the Speedway as part of the weeklong Legends of the Speedway celebration. Fittipaldi, who won the 500 in 1989 and 1993, took several ceremonial laps in the 1993 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro Pace Car.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears will be saluted Wednesday.
Mears will drive the No. 9 Penske Racing Gould Charge for several ceremonial laps around the 2.5-mile oval. Mears won the 1979 Indianapolis 500 with the Gould Charge, his first victory at Indianapolis. Mears repeated as winner in 1984, 1988 and 1991.
Practice continues from 12 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today.