DAY 11 -Practice- WEDNESDAY, MAY 15 USAC Chief Steward Keith Ward said this afternoon that the sanctioning body would continue to start driver orientation programs Thursday morning. "We're going to start at 9 in the morning and if guys are...

DAY 11 -Practice- WEDNESDAY, MAY 15

USAC Chief Steward Keith Ward said this afternoon that the sanctioning body would continue to start driver orientation programs Thursday morning. "We're going to start at 9 in the morning and if guys are ready, we'll try to get them finished up," Ward said. Of those who have been on the track and not completed tests, Billy Boat has completed his first phase and Andy Michner has no laps completed toward his first phase.

Several teams have been helping each other in Gasoline Alley to prepare for the final weekend of qualifying. Buddy Lindblom, team manager for Treadway Racing, said his team is assisting Scott Harrington's effort for LP Motorsports. "We're giving them a little setup information and our gearbox guy, Steve Eppard, is helping them out," Lindblom said. "Fred Treadway volunteered our help and we loaned them our old-style fuel nozzle and some rims that have been through inspection. The helping back and forth has gone on to a certain extent before. It actually helps both sides." Larry Nash, team manager for Harrington's effort, said, "we've gotten bits and pieces for our race car from a few teams. We have an older car, a '92, so we have been able to acquire these parts from the teams that ran these cars in the past. People have given us assistance here and there because we are a little low on the learning curve, so every bit helps." About the atmosphere in the garages, Nash added, "It used to be this way and that's the way it should be. We've been away from this arena for awhile so coming back now, it's like coming back home."

As far back as records are reliable, the most practice time lost to rain during a month of May came in 1973, when the track was down for 25 hours, 37 minutes during the month. In that year, the track opened for practice on April 30 and practice started at 9 a.m. each day. That total was broken today for the 1996 month of May. A total of 34 hours, 12 minutes of scheduled practice time have now been lost for '96 because of wet conditions.

CORRECTION: In the Day 12 report, it was stated that Paul Zuccarelli was the only driver from Spain to start an Indianapolis 500. Zuccarelli was born in Spain, but was Italian and served in the Italian Navy, according to his biography in the 1913 "500" program. If he qualifies, Fermin Velez would become the first Spaniard to start an Indianapolis 500.

The check presentation and celebrity match race between Lyn St. James and Gary Lee to kick off funding for renovation of Wilbur Shaw Memorial Soap Box Derby Hill at 30th and Cold Springs Road, originally scheduled for this morning, has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. Friday.

GTE "Front Runner Award" checks of $10,000 each were presented to Team Menard in Gasoline Alley today for the front-row qualifications by Scott Brayton and Tony Stewart.

The 18th annual "Day Before the 500" Indianapolis Auto Racing Memorabilia Expo is scheduled for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Admission is $6.

Four of the drivers currently in the field -- Tony Stewart, Davey Hamilton, Davy Jones and Mark Dismore -- are veterans of the 12-year-old Thunder in the Dome midget race, the most ever in a "500" field.

Michel Jourdain Jr. will attend a luncheon of Ameritech personnel and guests at Noon Thursday in the Tower Terrace suites.

A total of 48 cars are now at the Speedway, 43 have passed technical inspection and two are in the process. 37 drivers have been on the track to date. The track did not open for practice today because of rain and was officially closed for the day at 3:25 p.m. because of rain. At 3:10 p.m., the temperature was 61 degrees with winds SW at 4 mph.

-- IMS --

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Series General
Drivers Tony Stewart , Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Billy Boat , Mark Dismore , Lyn St. James , Scott Harrington , Davy Jones , Fermin Velez , Michel Jourdain