Corvette Pace Car

It was dry and warmish Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, before the Verizon IndyCar Series took to the track for the first day of practice for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. The active breeze furled the flags.

However, there was light rain and sprinkles at noon time for ROP/Refresher Practice. IndyCar does not run speedways in the rain. It took almost a half-hour for the first car to venture out.

In Gasoline Alley, the IndyCar teams were putting on the final touches of the new speedway aero kit. These are, in the case of the season-long teams, the cars which ran last weekend’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course race. In the case of the Indy 500-only drivers, such is not the case.

Monday’s revised schedule called for one hour of Rookie Orientation Practice starting at noon, break for an hour, and then all cars practice 2-7pm – an hour later than usual.

The ROP group will also include the “Refreshers” Group – Indy 500 only drivers, who haven’t been in an IndyCar this season.

IndyCar has announced that Rookie Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet will run ROP and JR Hildebrand/No.6 Preferred Freezer/CFH Racing Chevrolet will be included as a Refresher.

Simona de Silvestro

Conor Daly

Others running the first session could include Oriol Servia/No.32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, Pippa Mann/No.63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and Bryan Clauson/No.88 Jonathan Byrd’s/Cancer Treatment Centers of America Chevrolet. Maybe Townsend Bell/No.24 The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet, Sebastian Saavedra/No.17 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and Carlos Huertas/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Stay tuned.

Until the cars actually are on course it’s not known if that group will include others who have been in an IndyCar this year on a street course but not on an oval, such as Simona de Silvestre/No.29 Andretti Autosport Honda or Conor Daly/No.43 FUELED by BACON Special Honda for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Daly filled in very last minute at the Long Beach race when Dale Coyne’s No.18 driver, Rocky Moran Jr., injured his hand the night before race day.

There are 34 cars entered for this year’s race. Only one driver is TBA – No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. All season to date including the IMS road course race that car has been driven by Rookie Francesco Dracone.

For last weekend’s road course race, Rodolfo Gonzales was originally listed on the IndyCar Spotters Guide as driver in No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, but Carlos Huertas ended up in the seat for the weekend. At Long Beach, Coyne had told me his plan was to have three cars, but so far only two are on the Entry List.

There are any number of drivers seen in the garage and pit lane looking for rides, including Jamie Davison of Australia and Tristan Vautier, who ran the 2013 IndyCar season for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports after winning the 2012 Indy Lights championship.

Tristan Vautier & Pippa Mann

Tristan Vautier & Jamie Davison