Ryan Briscoe crashes in practice run

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske are scrambling to get his backup car up to speed after he crashed during practice for the Indy 500.

The rear end of Briscoe's car hit the wall hard Saturday morning, less than three hours before qualifying began. He was taken by ambulance to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's medical center. He was diagnosed with a bruised left knee and was cleared to drive by track medical officials.

Rookie Ho-Pin Tung also crashed later in a qualifying run. Pole qualifying for the May 29 race began Saturday. Twenty-four spots on the 33-car starting grid are expected to be filled.

Tung was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Track officials said he was awake and alert.

Tung's quest to become the first Chinese driver to start the race is in jeopardy after he damaged the rear end of the No. 8 car. Jay Penske's team does not have a backup car listed for the No. 8.

Alex Tagliani posted the fastest time during the session.

Tagliani's fastest lap was 228.184 miles per hour. That was just ahead of 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, whose fastest lap was 227.849 mph.

Briscoe said his crash was caused by cold tires. But he made it back on the 2.5-mile oval in a backup car with about 20 minutes left in the final practice.

Briscoe's fast lap during practice was 225.101 mph -- the 26th fastest of the session.

Tung topped 224 mph on each of his first three qualifying laps, an average that would have put him sixth on the starting grid. But as he came out of the first turn on the final qualification lap, the car spun, backed into the outside wall, skidded down the warmup lane and finally stopped as fluid spewed into the air.

Tung quickly climbed out of the car. Track officials did not have an immediate update on his condition.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.