Pit Lane

It was Hurry Up and Wait Saturday morning in a chilly 41 degrees F at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 8am in the morning for the two-hour morning Verizon IndyCar Series practice leading up to the first day of qualifying. The track temperature was only 50 degrees, below the minimum temperature that Firestone mandates for its tires. Despite the sunshine on most of the track, portions were still in deep shade and the breeze was brisk.

The practice session started 55 minutes late.

The session calls for two groups, splitting the cars according to where the are in the qualifying order. Then a combined practice. But, with the delayed start, the schedule could be fluid. Again, Mother Nature dictates the activity format.

I reckon the coldest job Saturday morning is that of IndyCar spotter. Each driver is required to have two spotters for this race. They are positioned high atop grandstands in Turn One and Turn Three. The spotters have to climb lots of stairs and stand on the highest platform. I ran into a long-time Aussie mate, who had come over just for this event. DAMON HILL, named for you know who, is spotting in Turn One for Rookie CARLOS MUNOZ/No.34 Andretti Autosport Honda. Hill said with his driver, he talks when he needs to – with information on where is the pack mostly, and also who is closing in, or of any problems on track.

Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan & Gil de Ferran

Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan & Gil de Ferran

Aryton Senna's helmet

SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda is wearing a special helmet for the Indy 500, in honor of his idol – AYRTON SENNA, who died twenty years ago. In a special conference to show the helmet, he was joined by three Brazilian drivers who had been personal and professional friends of Senna – HELIO CASTRONEVES in No.3 Team Penske Racing Chevrolet, TONY KANAAN/No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, and GIL de FERRAN of Honda. They all spoke of their remembrances and friendship with the three time W

Starting at 11am local/ET will be the first round of qualifying featuring the usual four-lap average runs. This goes on til 5:30pm.