Non-qualified Luyendyk looks for race speed

Friday, May 17, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS -- Even though Arie Luyendyk isn't qualified yet for the Indianapolis 500, it's a race-day setup that most concerns the two-time winner of the event.

After waiting impatiently through Monday and Tuesday, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2 1/2-mile oval closed, Luyendyk has spent two days trying to find a way to get his backup car up to speed.

"We weren't working on qualifying at all," said Luyendyk, whose fast lap in Thursday's practice was a relatively slow 220.972 mph. "We felt we needed a lot of time on the track but, with the windy conditions, that hasn't been easy.

"The backup car in race conditions is just really poor. From what I feel, I think we're 4 to 5 miles an hour off from a good race pace with that car right now."

Luyendyk, a 16-time Indy starter, set several speed records here, including the fastest race average in 1990 and the one- and four-lap qualifying records in 1996. He has been off the pace, though, much of the time since practice began on May 5.

While more than a dozen drivers have gone above 230, with Bruno Junqueira winning the pole for the race May 26 with a four-lap average of 231.342, the best Luyendyk has managed in his primary Team Menard G Force is 228.469.

He made two qualifying attempts in that car on Saturday, waving off one after three laps just above 227 and aborting another after one lap at 227.6.

Elsewhere

  • IN THE WALL:Indy 500 pole-sitter Bruno Junqueira had a problem Thursday, hitting the wall as he attempted to pit his primary car at Indy.

    "I was coming into the pits a little too fast," the Brazilian said. "The brakes locked up on me. I was going too fast so I tried to get back out on the track and the car just came around."

    Junqueira was not injured and the damage to the Chip Ganassi Racing G Force was minimal.

    SHAWNA SIDELINED: Shawna Robinson, the only woman on the Winston Cup circuit, has been replaced by Ron Hornaday for the next two races.

    Hornaday will drive BAM Racing's No. 49 Dodge to help the rookie team develop, said team manager Eddie Jones.

    "We want to make it clear Shawna is not being released," Jones said. "We want to get a report on whether or not we have problems with our cars, the crew or whatever."

    -- From wire reports

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