Scott Sharp turned in the fastest lap of the week in practice for Saturday's Indianapolis 500 trials, edging two champions from a rival series.
Sharp circled the famed 2-1/2-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway in just a tick under 40.2 seconds, reaching 223.936 mph (358.297 k/hr) to outshine fellow American Jimmy Vasser and Colombia's Juan Montoya.
Reigning Championship Auto Racing Teams champion Montoya was second-best on Tuesday at 222.102 mph with Vasser, the 1996 CART champion, third at 221.773 mph. They are the only CART racers whose sponsors allowed a run in the rival Indy Racing Series event. The 500 went to the IRS in a 1996 split with CART.
Montoya won the CART title as a rookie and Tuesday marked his first full day of regular practice at the legendary Indy track.
Robby Gordon, who ran out of fuel six turns from victory here last year, will not compete in NASCAR as he normally does so he can practice and qualify here. His top speed Monday of 223.120 mph showed he could contend for the pole.
France's Stephan Gregoire, who failed to qualify here last year, has hopes of reaching the pole this time. He was fifth fastest at 221.397 mph, edging 1998 Indy winner Eddie Cheever's 221.081-mph run despite gearbox problems.
Sarah Fisher, the 19-year-old American trying to be the first woman to start on Indy's front row, was seventh in the speed chase at 220.881 mph.
Fisher got an apology from Chile's Eliseo Salazar, who drives for four-time Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt. Salazar criticized Fisher after a wreck involving the two last month in Las Vegas, saying Indy-car racing was no place for her.
"I would like her to apologize (for causing the wreck), but that's another question," Salazar said - (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)