The Brazilian Raul Boesel has upset the IndyCar establishment by bouncing back from a frustrating Indianapolis 500 to take pole position. He shattered the 1992 track record of Bobby Rahal by nearly 5mph in lapping the one- mile circuit in 21.986sec, becoming the first driver ever to break into the 21sec bracket.
Boesel finished fourth at Indianapolis despite being twice penalised for minor infractions, and for much of the 500 had been the fastest car on the track. The pole was the first for Boesel and his Dick Simon Racing team.
Early yesterday morning, under clear blue skies, Boesel was fastest in the early practice session. To prove it was no fluke, he repeated the performance when the cars took to the oval for the second practice, unofficially lapping inside the track record.
' Another significant threat to the big names materialised when Scott Goodyear came out of nowhere to take fourth place in the final practice, just ahead of his Newman-Haas team-mates, Mansell and Mario Andretti.
'We didn't test here like some of the other teams so we were a little behind yesterday,' Goodyear said 'but I'm very encouraged.'
One by one, the favourites sought to beat Boesel's time, but no one came close. The last contender to try was Emerson Fittipaldi, the winner in Indianapolis, but before completing his run he pulled off into the pits. 'I completely lost my boost,' the Brazilian explained. 'There was a line leaking, and I couldn't adjust.'
It was duly changed, but only one flying lap remained. He made the best of it, displacing everyone except Boesel. Nevertheless, his time fell six-tenths of a second and over 4mphshy of his countryman. 'He should get a pilot's license,' Fittipaldi joked, 'he's not driving around here, he's flying.'
Goodyear, who had taken pole at the Phoenix oval, put in a strong performance to claim third, just ahead of the Canadian Paul Tracy. Boesel's team-mate, Scott Brayton, was fast enough for sixth, and he is sandwiched between Mario Andretti and Mansell. The Formula One world champion will start seventh, though less than a tenth of a second shy of Fittipaldi's time.
Following the post-practice press conference, Fittipaldi was presented by the media with an anatomically-correct plastic cow as a reminder of his refusal of the traditional milk which is offered to the Indianapolis winner.
'She looks thirsty,' he said immediately, and proceeded to offer the cow a drink from his orange juice bottle.Reuse content