DUNO'S FIRST WEEK AT INDY
Steady Progress Interrupted by Turn One Wall
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, IN. (May 10, 2007) - New female rookie IndyCar
driver Milka Duno was making steady progress during her first week of
preparation for this month's Indy 500 - when her #23 CITGO Racing Dallara
Honda took a spin and sent her backing into the turn one wall during today's
last practice session before tomorrow's first day of qualifying.
Duno was run through the paces during the mandatory two-day "Rookie
Orientation Program" this past Sunday and Monday and was able to meet most
of the necessary requirements during the first day of the program - and then
continued to garner valuable lap time on Monday - along with expert advice
from both Al Unser, Sr. and Johnny Rutherford.
Tuesday brought the first day of official IndyCar practice and Milka's speed
had dramatically increased from highs of 214.128 and 215.949 on Sunday and
Monday to a high of 219.830 - in full practice traffic. The team made some
adjustments to the set-up for the Wednesday session but Milka was only able
to hit a high of 218.334 - indicating that the adjustments made did not
generate the desired result. Before Thursday's session, the adjustments were
returned to that of Monday and Milka was once again back on her way to
higher speed by generating a high of 218.908 - closer to her high on Monday
and in the right direction - but not there yet.
In today's practice, Duno was 50 laps into the session and at the severe end
of any remaining tire life when the team radioed her to "pit next lap" and
while preparing to do so her very worn right rear caught the slippery part
of the track and she went into a spin on turn one - which sent her into the
SAFER barrier and ending not only her session today - but any chance of
qualifying this Saturday. Milka was taken to the infield care center and was
quickly released and cleared to drive again. But while Milka is ready to get
behind the wheel and back on track - her car is not. Suffering heavy left
rear damage the #23 CITGO Racing Dallara Honda may not be track ready again
until next Wednesday. During today's session Milka's best lap time was a
218.640 and as of today Milka had completed a total of 299 laps around the
famed circuit - more than any other driver this month.
"I didn't much care for that experience and sure hope that doesn't happen
again," a relaxed Milka said later in the team garage. "It was definitely a
rookie mistake and it was just astonishing to me how quickly it happened.
I'm here to learn - and I learned today for sure what can happen and I
guarantee you that I certainly don't want it to happen again. A fan yelled
out that I got my first 'rookie rub' here at Indy - and to join the club of
many that have done the same. While it is certainly my first - I sure hope
it's my last. I'd like to thank the safety workers for getting to me so
quickly and also to the staff at the medical center. Thanks also in advance
to the crew because I know that they'll have to work even harder because of
my mistake. Sorry guys."
CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, marketer and transporter of
transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and
other industrial products. The company has been a major sponsor of American
racing for 21 years in such series as NASCAR, Grand-Am Racing and now the
IndyCar Series. CITGO is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly
owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit
For additional information on Milka please visit www.milkaduno.com. For more
information on the IndyCar Series please log on to www.indycar.com.