Rest and recuperation are more important to Nigel Mansell at this time than practicing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his first Indy 500 on May 30.
Immediately after qualifying in the middle of the third row with a speed of 220.255 m.p.h., the British Formula One champion headed for the airport and a trip home to Clearwater, Fla.
"My immediate plans are to go home, get in the Jacuzzi, see my therapist and the (back) specialist, and that will determine when I come back," Mansell said. He had a back operation April 28 to repair damage done in a crash April 3 at Phoenix.
A.J. Foyt gave his Copenhagen Racing Team the day off today after announcing his retirement Saturday, but they will be back Monday and Tuesday preparing cars for Robby Gordon to make a qualifying attempt next weekend.
Foyt's No. 14, which has been his number for the past 20 years, will be renumbered No. 41 for Gordon, who is expected to be back on the track Wednesday.
The No. 14 will be retired from Indy car racing.
Foyt's retirement is the second in six months of a four-time Indy 500 winner. Rick Mears retired last December. Al Unser, the other four-time champion, waved off a qualifying attempt but is expected back today.
John Andretti, who has been driving Jack Clark's top fuel dragster while he looked for an Indy car ride, made his first appearance this year at the Speedway practicing in the No. 72 Cosby/Service Merchandise Special that Willy T. Ribbs had been unable to get up to qualifying speed. Ribbs' fastest lap was 210.564.
Rookie Ross Bentley, who was burned in the face and hands Friday when a fuel line ruptured, remained in Methodist Hospital. His condition was reported as "good" by Henry Bock, Speedway medical director.