Driver Autograph Queue

It was a warm welcome, literally as well as figuratively, for the families and fans Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Festival Community Day. The temperature was 82 and climbing, coupled with 58 percent humidity and cloud cover, it was was more than hot. Shade was coveted.The fans could circulate almost everywhere and partake in fun activities for the kids such as face painting, and posting with various icons.

As the afternoon wore on, the skies grew very dark and ugly, and the forecast changed from 82F, sunny/cloudy, to 82F Scattered Thunderstorms.

Scott Dixon

Pippa Mann

Tony Kanaan

Left to Right: Scott Dixon, Pippa Mann, and Tony Kanaan

In Gasoline Alley the teams were working on their race cars while the drivers signed autographs in three separate Autograph sessions – for which they had to sign up. Thirty-two of the 32 of the 33 drivers for the 2014 Indy 500 field were on hand. The one driver given a pass was Rookie KURT BUSCH, who had to be in Charlotte for his NASCAR Sprint Cup duties. He had been in New York City with teammate, MARCO ANDRETTI, promoting the local ABC TV affiliates carrying the race.

Busch’s destroyed primary car was back at the Andretti Autosport shop nearby the track, as was the backup car for his teammate, Andretti. The crew reported that the car Busch will race Sunday in the Indianapolis 500 race car actually was Andretti’s road race car from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Indianapolis Verizon IndyCar road race. The tub/chassis from that car is being used, and fitted with oval track pieces. The team has nine cars for five drivers. Busch, as a one-off driver this weekend, didn’t have a backup car. The crew said it was easier working back at the shop with all its resources. Meanwhile, the rest of the Andretti garage was just humming along.

IndyCar states that when a driver crashes a qualified car and changes chassis, he/she will start the race in the position he/she qualified. This means Busch will start in his original P12 position, outside of Row Four.

In commemoration of Busch’s Doing The Double, his new sponsor, SOL Republic, is making a limited edition set of headphones for Busch and his crew. Fans can buy them off the Sol website and ten will be autographed for a sweepstakes.

Some of the teams put their show cars on display including the car for SCOTT DIXON. His show car has a different paint job. The show car’s paint texture is rough. The race car’s is slick and very smooth. Dixon has three race cars which are rotated. After each race, the paint is stripped off down to the carbon fiber, for repainting. The crew with whom I spoke preferred wraps as they were easier and lighter, making for a faster turn around time, giving the crew more time to work on the car. He estimated eight race cars in the garages used wraps.

Scott Dixon's Show Car

Ryan Briscoe's Backup Car

Helio Castroneves Yellow Submarine car

Left to Right: Cars for Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves.

The storm it is a comin’ and this is me leaving.