It’s another beautiful day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s warm, sunny with no breeze. The sky is blue with lots of fluffy white clouds. The crowd is no where near the size of Friday’s mammoth turnout, but they are dedicated and die-hard fans. There was a morning autograph session with the 33 Indianapolis 500 drivers, with lines queuing all over the available open area around the Pagoda. Afterwards was the open driver’s meeting with a variety of presentations and introductions, followed by input for the drivers and public about Sunday’s race.
ANDY GRANATELLI presented the STP Unsung Hero Award to MICHAEL ANDRETTI, which was accepted by son MARCO ANDRETTI. Michael Andretti has led more laps at Indy than any other non-winning driver – 431.
Several awards for winning the 2008 Indy 500 were presented to team owner, CHIP GANASSI and driver SCOTT DIXON, including their Baby Borgs – replicas of the famed Borg-Warner trophy, their individual championship rings and a sizable check from Borg-Warner.
Indy 500 Rookie RAPHAEL MATOS/No.2 Luczo Dragon Racing received his 2008 Firestone Indy Lights championship ring.
All the drivers and Pace Car driver, actor JOSH DUHAMEL, received their Indy 500 starter rings.
The IndyCars will use 85 gallons of ethanol, the pit lane speed is 50 mph, and after lap 185, no cars will be towed. The drivers can start the race on scuffs or new tires. This is the only IndyCar race of the year which starts three abreast. The track is fifty-feet wide and there is only one groove going into Turn One. IRL will sweep the track every chance it can.
After the Driver’s Meeting, busses carried the drivers downtown for the traditional Indy 500 parade.
ApexBrasil is a multi-year sponsor with the Indy Racing League – official Energy and Trade Partner of both IRL series. ApexBrasil is a consortium of 62 Brazilian companies seeking to create a marketing platform to promote its products in North America. To this end, guests are hosted at each IRL race, and at Indy there are 80 guests and trading partners. Also, for the first time this season ApexBrasil brought its mobile multi-media trailer, which is parked outside the Indianapolis Museum and open to the public. It’s no secret that Brazil is openly courting an IRL race, or two, as soon as next year and several sites are interested. IRL officials have been to visit sites in Brazil. The season’s finale race at Homestead Miami Speedway will be a very important race for ApexBrasil. Miami is seen as the gateway to American business for the Brazilians.
ApexBrasil has a personal services contract with TONY KANAAN/No.11 Andretti Green Racing, who is currently leading the IndyCar standings. He will be featured in a new commercial airing for the first time this weekend.