Thursday morning in Indianapolis started out overcast, but clearing. The wind was down and occasionally the sun broke through at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ground was mostly dry and the temperatures. All these conditions are most welcome after Wednesday night’s terrible thunder storms throughout the area. The tornado sirens were going, indicating warnings for tornadoes/severe thunder storms. It came and went within a three hour period and things then quieted down.
Three straight days of much rain will leave the 2.5-mile oval track as green as it has been in many a year, for the Firestone Indy Lights series which practices and qualifies Thursday. Their schedule, however, has been pushed back due to the early morning’s inclement weather.
The eighteen car Lights field has fifteen Rookies, no females, five Americans, and eleven different foreign countries represented.
In Gasoline Alley, the IndyCar teams are somewhat leisurely preparing their race engines for Friday’s Carb Day practice and then Sunday’s race. The race engines were delivered Monday, but not installed until Wednesday night-Thursday morning. All engines are leased. The majority of the teams are on “full month” programs (such as JOHN ANDRETTI/No.43 Team Window World Andretti Autosport and all full season lease teams) and receive a fresh engine for Carb Day and the race. Those fewer teams on the “Short Indy” program, such as PAUL TRACY/No.23WIX Filters/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and TOWNSEND BELL/No.99 Herbalife Schmidt Palfrey Racing, will be using the same engine for practice, qualifying and the race.
Honda has delivered 165 Indy 500 engines over the past five years, and none have failed.
I was able to get official answers on some threads I’d been following. IZOD IndyCar Scrutineers were not at liberty to disclose the nature of the technical violation which pulled DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Team GoDaddy Andretti Autosport out of the Qualifying line Sunday just as was nearing hAs of Wednesday TOM ANDERSON is now with Sam Schmidt Motorsports. That team said he is helping out Townsend Bell for the race – Bell’s starting fourth.
Many in the garage predicted Anderson would soon land another job equal to or better than that he had at Andretti Autosport as Senior VP, Racing Operations. Anderson was let go Monday morning after MICHAEL ANDRETTI’s “toughest day ever as a team owner.” when two of his five IndyCar drivers failed to make the Indy 500 grid. They were season-long regular drivers, and one has since been swapped for another driver on another team: RYAN HUNTER-REAY will drive A.J.Foyt’s No.41 ABC Supply, and bring with him a new paint scheme with his Andretti Autosport sponsors, DHL and Sundrop. Odd man out is BRUNO JUNQUEIRA, a one-off Indy 500 driver for Foyt, who can qualified nineteenth on the first day. RHR will start last due to the driver change.
The other rumor proved quite false. BOBBY RAHAL will be at the Indy 500; his Rahal Letterman Lannigan IndyCar team said he arrived Wednesday night. Some one had said Rahal wouldn’t be present, which made no sense: Rahal is running BERTRAND BAGUETTE/No.30 The RACB/Aspira RLL Special, starting 14th. Also Rahal is one of the previous Indy 500 winners, who have been invited to The Centennial – 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 race.