Substituting for the injured Buddy Rice at Rahal Letterman
Racing, Kenny Brack grabbed the headlines Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor
Speedway with a stunning four-lap qualifying speed of 227.598 mph, fastest
of all qualifiers for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Brack’s run, made in near perfect conditions, easily bested all other “third
day” qualifiers for the Indianapolis 500 and even edged Tony Kanaan’s
pole speed of 227.566 mph, set during the first round of qualifying last Sunday.
Although fastest of all 33 qualifies, Brack will start the 500-mile classic
from 23rd – the middle of the eighth row – as the first 22 starting
positions were locked in during first weekend qualifying on May 15. Brack
is the first driver to record the fastest qualifying speed and not earn Pole
Position since Arie Luyendyk in 1996.
Brack also was the last of 14 Honda-powered entries at Indianapolis to qualify
for the May 29 race, the largest “500” Honda entry since the manufacturer
entered Indy Racing League competition at the start of 2003. This year, Honda
drivers captured the pole [Kanaan], six of the top nine qualifying positions,
and 12 of the first 18.
With one position yet to fill in the 33-car starting field, final day qualifying
and any last-minute “bumping” attempts will take place on Sunday
from 1 – 7 p.m. EDT, with final hour live television coverage on ESPN.
Kenny Brack (#15 Argent/Pioneer Rahal Letterman
Racing Honda) Leads ‘third-day’ qualifiers, fastest overall
“It’s a great feeling
to be back, especially to be back with Rahal Letterman Racing. They are
a great team and great friends. I never did think about [qualifying fastest],
but to be the fastest qualifier you have to put the right engine in there,
and Honda did a great job, obviously, with that. It’s all about
momentum now. Before [engines were reduced from 3.5-liters to 3.0-liter
displacement], if you got out of the throttle, you could get back in it
and pick it up again. Now, if you get out of the throttle, it takes you
two laps to get back up to speed again. So, it will be critical to have
a good car for the race next week.”