Behind the Barriers - Indy Second Day Qualifiying

Today is Helio Castroneves' 34th birthday. Castroneves had an early start to his day as the front row photo session was scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. Castroneves posed on the famous yard of bricks as the photographers treated him to a rendition...

Today is Helio Castroneves' 34th birthday. Castroneves had an early start to his day as the front row photo session was scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. Castroneves posed on the famous yard of bricks as the photographers treated him to a rendition of Happy Birthday.

Dario Franchitti (36 on May 19) and A.J. Foyt IV (25 on May 25) also celebrate birthdays in May.

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Texas Motor Speedway's Eddie Gossage never misses an opportunity to promote any race at his track. Helio Castroneves will be in Dallas tomorrow to participate in a media event promoting the June 6 IndyCar event at Texas Motor Speedway. Fans traveling to the Indy 500 will notice a large billboard on Crawfordsville Road with the slogan, "The track that made the IRL famous."

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Yesterday we took a note from the Daily Trackside Report to calculate the number of seats at IMS. The DTR reported 99.5 miles of grandstand boards at the Speedway. We used two feet per seat to come up with our number of 262,680 seats, a number that wasn't too far off from Curt Cavin's 2004 report in the Indianapolis Star. Today we measured a grandstand board in the NE Vista and consistently came up with 19 inches of seat space. Using that measure we come up with 331,876 seats. The 99.5 mile figure released by the Speedway may be a bit ambitious.

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Jerry Sneva, Josele Garza and Steve Knapp were at the Speedway today. They met with members of the media and signed autographs in the Pagoda Plaza. All three drivers won the Rookie of the Year award at the Indianapolis 500 (Sneva-1977, Garza-1981, Knapp-1988).

"The Rookie of the Year award was something very meaningful for me," said Garza. "It was a great feather in my cap back then, and it opened up a lot of opportunities, even in Formula One. I went to Monaco that year and was even offered a Formula 3 ride because of it. Even today in some areas, it's still meaningful."

Garza, who is no longer involved in racing, was making his second trip to the Speedway since his last race in 1987. "I've gotten away from racing in the last several years, but before I retired from racing, I had Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams in Mexico. But then NASCAR Mexico had taken over, and I retired. I still go to the tracks once in a while."

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Dan Wheldon qualified 18th, his worst starting position in seven races at Indianapolis. Wheldon has qualified on the front two rows in five of his six previous Indy 500s. In 2005 he qualified 16th and won the race.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon , Steve Knapp , Josele Garza