Andretti Solidly In Field
May 12, 2003 | 12:33 A.M. EST
Both drivers sought to put their respective Team 7-Eleven rides firmly in the Indianapolis 500 field on a cold and blustery day, and that is what they did with relative ease. Kanaan, who held the top spot in qualifying for a good share of the day after making an attempt at approximately 3 p.m., placed his Dallara in the middle of the front row, while Andretti secured a starting spot on the inside the fifth row after completing his run just after 1:30 p.m.
Andretti went out before his teammate and posted a four-lap qualifying average speed of 227.739 miles per hour. Although posting the 13th quickest qualifying speed of the day, Andretti was disappointed and described Sunday’s weather conditions as the most difficult ever for a qualifying run at Indy. Kanaan, who was considered by many to be a favorite for the pole position, lived up to expectations with a run that averaged 231.006 miles per hour over the 10-mile distance. Kanaan was one of only two drivers to break the 231-miles per hour barrier.
Two-time defending Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves won the pole with an average speed of 231.725 miles per hour. Fellow Andretti Green Racing teammate Robby Gordon, who also occupied the top spot for a period of time during the session, rounded out the front row with an effort of 230.205 miles per hour. Fellow AGR teammate Dan Wheldon also qualified up front with a speed of 229.958 miles per hour, which was good for fifth in the qualifying rundown. A total of 24 cars are currently in the field with next Sunday’s qualifying session remaining.
Practice resumes at “The Brickyard” on Wednesday in preparation for the May 25th running of the Indy 500, which is slated to go green at 12 p.m. EDT and will air live on ABC Sports.
“The whole Team 7-Eleven did a great job," said Kanaan. "I have to thank Michael, Kim (Green) and Kevin (Savoree) for giving me all their support. It was a great job by the team. The car was not the way I wanted it this morning, but the team made a couple changes this afternoon and gave me a great car.”