First real Indy run gets on drivers' nerves

August 05, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is "intimidating."

That was the opinion of veteran Winston Cup stock car drivers yesterday when they came back from their first meaningful run here.

"Everyone was talking about all the people in the stands," said Geoff Bodine. "But I had so many butterflies and I was so nervous and so focused out there I didn't see any people. I wasn't sightseeing. I know there were a lot of pretty girls in the stands -- and good looking guys too -- but today was not the day to be looking."

The Winston Cup drivers qualified with about seven laps of practice and are hoping for good weather today, to get in some actual racing laps with other cars.

"It's so important because none of us know anything about racing on this track," said pole-sitter Rick Mast.

John Andretti, who is delighted to be the only Andretti racing at Indy in this race, pointed out that the drivers don't even know how many lanes there are on this track.

"Rick thinks there is less than one and Dale Earnhardt thinks there are three," said Andretti, currently qualified 31st. "Maybe for Dale there are three, but I don't know where they're going to put the third car and that's what we need to find out before race day."

Not Pocono

xTC

A car with Hoosier Tires is on the pole here, just like Bodine was at the Winston Cup race at Pocono three weeks ago, but no one thinks the Brickyard 400 is shaping up like that race.

"I think it's obvious we don't have the same situation," said Jeff Gordon, who celebrated his 23rd birthday by qualifying third in his DuPont Chevrolet. "Rick's on the pole, but Rick was consistently fast from the moment he unloaded his car. Fast in practice. Fast in qualifying.

"But it looks like the Goodyears and Hoosiers are pretty even."

Gordon and second-place qualifier Earnhardt were both on Goodyears, while Bodine qualified fourth on Hoosiers. While two of the top five were on Hoosier tires, only four cars in the Top 20 were.

"Everybody here knows you can't win a race with just a little bit better tire, a little bit better engine, a little bit better car or a little bit better driver," said Bodine. "It takes the whole package, and if anyone complains about the tires it's just sour grapes."

Foyt labors

Foyt ran a disappointing 166.889, good only for the 45th best speed yesterday, which means he'll be back on the track again today trying to make the field.

"It's a lot of fun out there and I want to be part of it," said Foyt. "I'm not happy with 166, but I haven't been in a race car in a year and a half and I haven't driven a stock car in about 5 1/2 years. So I don't think this is too bad, given the sun didn't stay behind the

clouds for me the way they did for Rick Mast."

On the table

One day ago, Darrell Waltrip was talking about sitting on the pole, but yesterday he said he "left a little on the table."

E9 Waltrip ran a disappointing 168.401 mph, 27th fastest.

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