Saturday was Legends day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The day started out hot and humid, sunny with an unpredictable breeze. The weather forecast was for afternoon thunderstorm, right about the time of the Festival Parade downtown Indianapolis. It did rain, hard in mid-afternoon; but as it’s Indy, it came, it poured, and it left. The sun came back out. And the temperatures rose.
At the track there were huge queues for the morning NTT IndyCar driver autograph sessions. And then the fans all found grandstand seats for the public/open Drivers’ Meeting, where all the drivers were introduced and received their Starter Rings. Will Power, as defending Indianpolis 500 winner, received his winner’s trophy from the American Dairy Association; and along with Team Penske owner, Roger Penske, received his Baby Borg trophy for winning last year’s race.There were various and sundry other presentations and speeches. Before and after these festivities, the Historic indycars did Exhibition Laps.
Left to Right: Roger Penske and Will Power receive their Baby Borg Trophies for their 2018 Indy 500 win; Will Power receives his ‘Winners Drink Milk’ Plaque from American Dairy Association CEO, Jenni Browning; and Will Power receives his 2019 Indy 500 starter Ring. All photos by Pablo Matamoros.
At the Drivers’ Meeting, all 33 drivers were present and accounted for. They sat in grid order in a mini-grandstand facing the grandstands, and stood when called to come down to receive their starter rings.
Left to right, receiving their 2019 Indy 500 Starter Rings are: Front Row – Simon Pagenaud, Ed Carpenter & Spencer Pigot; Last Row – Kyle Kaiser, James Hinchcliffe, and Sage Karem. Photos by Pablo Matamoros
Saturday night is when the track makes its Sunday race decisions and plans based on its best weather information. The track has a weather station at the Speedway, plus a partnership with a local TV weather station. Its information is about as current and correct as it can get. Stay tuned.
At the track, there are a variety of ways drivers get around besides walking or rental cars. There are scooters, and watch out – those drivers don’t have a rev limiter on their scooters. There are customized golf carts, fancy motorcycles, and to get to the parade – fancy busses waiting for them right beside the Public Driver’s Meeting grandstand.
Many groups took advantage of the relative calm of the day to lead tours around the track and various facilities. Victory Circle had a queue of tours waiting for their chance to visit the iconic podium.
One very small group on the Podium Saturday morning was SCCA. Eric Prill, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, along with Deanna Flanagan, Director, Road Racing live-streamed an announcement on the SCCA Facebook page, which was billed as a ‘Major Announcement from a Secret Location.’ Joining them was Doug Boles, President of IMS, to tell the SCCA folks that the SCCA National Runoffs are coming back to IMS in 2021. The Runoffs were first held at the Speedway in 2017 and were so popular, the entry was 969, highest ever for SCCA. Now, as part of the rotation around the country, SCCA is bringing the event back to the Brickyard, with the three-day races being held Oct 1-3, 2021.
After the big announcement, IMS Radio asked Prill to talk about competing at the Runoffs and winning his first-ever National Championship, at IMS.