Originally created 05/14/98

Guerrero struggling for speed



INDIANAPOLIS -- Roberto Guerrero is among the busiest drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway because he's not among the fastest. Not yet, anyway.

His 13 years of experience in the Indianapolis 500 means nothing when the speed just isn't there.

"The reason we're taking so many laps is that we're not happy with the setup yet," Guerrero said Wednesday, three days before the start of qualifications.

He raised his top lap speed more than 4 mph to 218.701 on Monday, practiced Tuesday mainly in his backup and went back to his primary car for 65 laps on Wednesday, turning a top speed of 215.054.

"We keep improving it, so once we are happy with the setup then we'll park it. We'll keep going until we're happy with it," said Guerrero, who already has practiced 251 laps, more than the equivalent of a full race.

"It's just the regular handling, getting it to work the way you'd like it," he said of his Dallara-Aurora race car. "We've made progress every single day, and hopefully we'll keep going that way and peak the right day.

"Unfortunately, you can't really say, `OK, I'm doing this and this.' You have to play it by ear and see how it goes."

The first of the two days of qualifications for the May 24 race is on Saturday.

The fastest during Wednesday's practice was Billy Boat at 221.691 mph in his backup car. Defending champion Arie Luyendyk cracked 220 mph for the first time and had a fast lap of 220.464. Boat's teammate, Kenny Brack, also was above 220 at 220.135.

"We're still trying to get a handle on it, but we think it's going to be a real good race car," Boat said.

For the first time since practice began Sunday, there were no crashes.