The sun rose on cue at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the crowds were everywhere for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. The good news is that there’s a big crowd. The unintended circumstances: It was most difficult slogging around the garage and Gasoline Alley. People everywhere.
The weather was overcast mid-morning, with the sun losing the battle to break through. The wind was up and the temperatures warmish – 65-70 degrees Farenheit.
There was a brief scare at 8:45am ET when a few sprinkles tried to show who’s boss, but lost. But it was a scramble for the cars lined up for the Tech Shed as they tried to run for cover.
Chuckie Lynn, the well-known, long-time bicycle newspaper vendor at IMS was honored Saturday morning by AARWBA (American Auto Race Writers & Broadcasters Association.) He was awarded this year’s Angelopolous Award for Sportsmanship.
The unlucky cars which need rescuing are handled quickly by tow trucks known as Recovery Vehicles. The drivers said their job is lots of waiting and a few minutes of quick action.
James Davison scored some last minute sponsorship from Always Evolving/Replay XD, so he and his crew have new uniforms as well as new graphics on the car.
Sighted in the Pit Lane were just two of the many crew members and fans of James Hinchcliffe, wearing supportive Tshirts for him to get well. Hinch was injured Monday in a crash during practice, driving No.5 Arrows/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.
The Chevrolet Suburban which carries the Medical Doctor is driven by Gail Truess, a long-time indycar vehicle driver. Her car, parked inside Turn One, carries either Dr. Michael Olinger, INDYCAR medical director or Dr. Terry Trammell, INDYCAR medical consultant and co-founder of the original CART Medical/Safety Team. Truess also gives great VIP Pace Car rides – very smooth and fast.
NASCAR driver/Indy 500 Pace Car driver, Jeff Gordon, and Patrick Dempsey actor/racer/Indy 500 Honorary Starter were among the celebrities walking the Red Carpet and interviewed on TV. The ensuing crowd jammed the Media Center entrance – a veritable scrum.
The 2.5-mile Brickyard oval is staffed by a cadre of 60 IMS Observers, who are positioned around the track – reporting to Race Control on what is seen. The yellow lights are managed by Race Control. The group is made up of veteran race marshals from SCCA and USAC, and includes two women. The group can also have other responsibilities, including escorting cars from Pit Lane back to Tech on Pole Day and Bump Day, a la Formula One and Park Ferme. There the INDYCAR Scrutineers perform their obligatory and mandatory post-Qualifying checks.