Archive for Sunday, May 12, 2002

Hornish barely avoids wall

Brack qualifies in seventh row

May 12, 2002


— Defending IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. had a close call prior to Saturday's Indy 500 qualifying session.

Hornish, who has two wins and a third-place finish in the IRL's first four races this season, spun on the back straightaway in the morning practice and barely avoided hitting the wall. He wasn't the only one having trouble.

Kenny Brack, the 1999 Indy 500 champ, wasn't as fortunate. He brushed the turn four wall in practice, then called off two qualifying attempts after warming up his car.

Finally, things turned around and Brack qualified on the outside of the seventh row at 227.240.

"We got the car in the show, but I don't know if it's going to be enough," said Brack, concerned about being bumped by faster cars after the 33-car field is filled.

Jon Herb also hit the wall in turn four during an afternoon practice run.

Paul Tracy had the toughest luck, though, crashing in turn two during the morning practice. He hit the "soft" wall with the rear of the car, which was badly damaged.

Tracy was released from the hospital after being treated for abrasions on his knees and heels, but Team Kool Green will have to scramble to find him another car.

"We were struggling this morning," he said. "We decided to make a change, really two or three changes at once. Then we went out, and it was too much."

Teammate Dario Franchitti called off a qualifying attempt after three laps above 226.

Trading places: Two-time champ Arie Luyendyk will not be in his familiar No. 5 car even though he practiced all week in the car. Team owner Fred Treadway announced late Friday that Luyendyk will be driving the No. 55 car, while rookie Rick Treadway, his son, will take over the No. 5.

The reason? The points standings. With Treadway in the No. 5 car, he can continue to earn points in the IRL title chase. Treadway is 19th with 50 points. Luyendyk came back from retirement to run Indy each of the past two years, but no longer races anywhere else.

Treadway qualified the No. 5 in the 17th spot at 228.039. Luyendyk made two attempts and failed to qualify. He warmed up for a third attempt at the end of the day, but came in without taking the green flag.

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