The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 12, 1985 · Page 21
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 21

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 12, 1985
Page 21
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V 42 SUNDAY. MAY 12, 1985 THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR- SB - - .... i ;l AT' . , if "" "l.T I " a''' UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL Mario Andretti (right) talks to his crew after qualifying his Lola-Cosworth at an average speed of 211.576 mph. Andretti s speed was good enough for the inside of the second row. Weather changes rule out Mario, Rahal duel The sun was hot. Warm breezes blew. " ' A nirp Mav Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway unless you happened to be in , the very hot shoes of Mario Andretti and Bobby Kahal. - The weather was like rain on their parade, and an expected duel for the pole position failed to materialize. The sun cooked Andretti's No. 3 Beatrice Lola. The wind buffeted Rahal's No. 10 Budweiser March. And Turn 3 got 'em both. So, the two men who had been consistently the quickest in the fastest week in IMS history, settled unhappily for less than their demonstrated best. Andretti, who had done an unofficial 215.6 Friday, rirnnnpd to 211.576 for Saturday's official four-tapper. That got him the inside of the second row. . Rahal, who had hot lapped consistently at. 214, ' came. alone later to post a 211.818 and pull alongside the two Buick drivers, v ancno carter ana ocou Brayton, on the outside of the front row. For both, good, but not good enough. - Andretti, who was trying to capture his first pole since 1967, was clearly disappointed. - "I want the pole as much as anybody else," said Andretti. "That's why you bust your bleep a whole week here ... to achieve that. That's why whenever you get it or anything it's precious because it's not easy and can never be taken for granted." While Andretti has been continually thwarted in his quest for the pole, it's still a relatively new experience for Rahal, the former road racer from Ohio. "I'm just glad qualifying's over along with all the pressure," said Rahal. "It's almost like the race is anticlimactic. "Sure, I would have liked to have been on the pole, but at least we're first in class." . He was referring to his status as the leading Cosworth-powered machine in the field. Both Andretti and Rahal had circuits of 214-plus during the morning practice sessions, when temperatures were cool and winds light. Both conditions changed radically before Andretti and Rahal qualified, however. "What can you do?" Andretti said with a shrug. "Conditions change and they changed to mess me up. "I was down to 200 revs all the way around. The air (temperature) picked up from this morning at least 10 to 15 degrees and that was that. "I was backing off and saving it this morning and running 214 with no problem so I figured anything beyond 214 would be a bonus. "But 1 was sure I could do 214." The man from Mazareth, Pa., knew he had a problem the instant he punched the throttle to start his run. "When I got on my hot lap, I knew I didn't have my revs," he said. "I know when the car is running when the revs should be where, and they weren't there. "There was nothing I could do. I just said, bleep, -bleep, bleep. "But I'm happy. We're in and now I'll just concentrate on the race. The first act is over for me." Andretti complained about the wind conditions in the third turn, where he would have to get off the throttle for the only time in each lap. The stiff breezes from the south also caught Rahal's racer, giving it a push toward the wall. He, too, had to ease off the gas. "If we had not had the push in three, we could've done 212s or 213s easily," said Rahal. "But that cost us. "When you're doing these speeds, all you have to do is lift a little bit and it can make a more than one mile an hour difference. In three, we weren't having to - lift completely but just a little bit to get the car settled in because it was pushing quite a bit. "Not to take anything away from the Buicks but when they went out it was relatively calm and it's gotten a lot windier and the sun's come out. All these thinnc rnntrivp to makp VOU a little slower." Andretti conceded that late afternoon would be the only other time to try to reach "optimum conditions but his team didn't give much thought of going the Poncko Tpnm rnutp and waiting. Rahal, too, decided to play the cards as they were dealt , "We just wanted to get it the hell over with and go have a Budweiser, he said, maKing oDiigaiury reier onro (a his snnnsnr. "it's thp rarp we're here for. The engine was running fine and I knew it was pretty good in three corners out of four. I thought maybe we ought to wait hut hnw Hn vnn know what it's coine to do later on? It might rain and then what? We're in the race, that's the critical thing and we re in me ironi row. nuHeiunjr stav thprp " They did, and Andretti didn't budge, either, after the Penske cars of Rick Mears and Danny Sullivan failed in their late-afternoon attempts to knock them and the Buicks down a couple ot spots. ' By BILL BENNER STAR STAFF WRITER Fittipaldi saves best time to earn spot in second row By JOHN BANSCH STAR STAFF WRITER Emerson Fittipaldi was a unique race driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday. While others around him were qualifying for the 500 Mile Race at speeds slower than their practice times, Fittipaldi earned a place in the May 26th grind with his quickest time ever. The two-time world champion averaged 211.209 miles per hour in, the No. 40 7-11 machine entered by Pat Patrick for his four lap qualifi cation tour of the Speedway. That's two miles per hour faster than Fittipaldi has ever driven before. The drive was one of consisten cy with the quickest lap at 211.595 and the slowest at 211.119. "I put everything I could into my drive," said the man who drove Lotus to the 1972 world title and a McLaren to the crown in 1974. I feel very good. I had to slow down on the fourth lap because the car started pushing, but there's no way I can complain about anything. I'm very pleased with the crew," added the man who will start in the middle of the second row. "One of my goals was to start among the top 10." The soft speaking man who calls Miami home after living so many years in Sao Paulo, Brazil, had his Cosworth powered March up to 209.059 miles per hour last Wednesday, than saw the speed fall to 204.452 Thursday. It picked up again Friday after "the qualifying setup" was installed in the race car. The drop in time was depressing to Fittipaldi. "Everybody else was going quicker and we were going slower because we set up our car differently and it didn't run. quick with all that oil and rubber on the track," he said. Fittipaldi came within an inch or two of not being able to qualify. As he pulled into the pits Saturday morning following a practice run, Al Unser Sr. pulled out in front of him. To avoid hitting Unser, Fittipaldi drove his car up over the curb and onto the grass. "Al didn't see me and I just managed to avoid him," said Fittpal-di. "I was worried running over the curb would throw off our setup. We were lucky the car wasn't damaged." Grand Prix teams have attempted to lure Fittipaldi back to their circuit At the moment he has no intention of returning. "There's more motivation running in America," he said. "This is a new challenge. People are more honest here. There is less bull -than in Grand Prix racing. I'm excited about this season." Fittipaldi began the year on a high note, finishing second behind Mario Andretti in the Long Beach Grand Prix. He ran a strong race all afternoon. Present plans call for Fittipaldi to compete in every CART race this year. The only other race he intends to enter is an IMSA event at Miami, promoted by his friend Ralph Sanchez. In addition to driving for Patrick, Fittipaldi is in the automobile accessory business. He sells .appointment parts such as fancy steering wheels. "I think there's a good potential for the business in this country," said the driver. "That's one of the reasons I'm living in Miami. I can still get back to Brazil in a hurry' to see my children." This will be Fittipaldi's second Indianapolis race. He started 23rd last May and finished 32nd, dropping out with engine problems after 37 laps. "s $ v.v.u, iip V -V:(i i ih TV y o ..vj.a. . ..:. v " STAFF PHOTOFRANK H. FISSE Which one? Al Unser Jr. checks with team members to make Saturday' at the Speedway. Unser toured the 2 Insure he dons the right hat after his qualifying run mile oval in an average speed of 209.215 mph. iKraco team rallies late into '500' field t ; . . . s? - The last 30 minutes of the day . turned the mood in the Kraco Ste-;;'eo garages from depression to joy. ' ' In that brief time span, Michael Andretti and Kevin Cogan qualified the team's two blue and yellow racing machines for the 1985 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Andret'i put his No. 99 Lola-powered Cosworth into the field on the outside of the fifth row, qualifying at 208.185 miles an hour in his second attempt. Cogan, getting onto the track just moments before the 6 p.m. closing, qualified the No. 18 March powered by a Cosworth at 203.793 miles per hour. That puts him in the middle of the ninth row. Time chart Seconds Speed 45.00 200.00 44.90 200.44 44.80 200.89 44.70 201.34 44.60 201 79 44.50 202.24 44.40 202.70 44.30 203.16 44.20 203.62 44.10 204.08 44.00 204.54 43.90 205.01 43.80 205.47 43.70 205.95 43.60 206.42 43.50 206.89 43.40 207.37 43.30 207.85 43.20 208.33 43.10 208.81 Seconds Speed 43.00 209.30 42.90 209.79 42.80 210.28 42.70 21Q.77 42.60 211.27 42.50 211.76 42.40 212.26 42.30 212.77 42.20 213.27 42.10 213.78 42.00 214.29 41.90 214.80 41.80 215.31 41.70 215.83 41.60 216.35 41.50 216.87 41.40 217.39 41.30 217.92 41.20 218.45 41.10 218.98 s . For the two drivers, completing the 10-mile qualification test had special meaning. Both had been struggling to reach speed. Andretti slammed into . the wall last week while Cogan was fighting to come back from severe foot injuries suffered last summer in a crash at Pocono. "I didn't have total confidence in myself when I went out for my second run," said Andretti, who finished fifth here last year as a rookie. "It took a couple of laps for me to feel comfortable. -"Last year, I couldn't do anything wrong. Today, it seemed I could do little right. I guess you could say I'm suffering from the sophomore jinx. After all I've gone through in practice I kept wondering what else would go wrong." The track was "slippery" late Saturday morning when Andretti attempted his first qualifying venture. "The car almost rode into the wall once," he said. Cogan pulled out of the qualifying line the first time around. "We needed a little more practice time," he said of the decision to wait until the final minute to make a run. Between the time he went to the back of the line and took the green flag, Cogan ran "five or six hot laps." That was enough to get him in the field. "I really needed about two more days of practice," said the blond-haired driver. . : , .iff ' . fx ra iff I STAFF PHOTOFRANK H. FISSE New track record The one- and four-lap track records weren't Speedway. According to estimates by the Indi- fans filed into IMS, the largest first-day crowcf the only marks to fall Saturday on the first day ana State Police, between 250,000 and 300,000 ever. of qualifications at the Indianapolis Motor . .

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