IRL: Behind the Barriers: Indy rain day

Roger Penske's mark in motorsports has been highlighted by fielding teams known for meticulous attention to detail in operations and appearance. Penske Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing, was recently named a General...

Roger Penske's mark in motorsports has been highlighted by fielding teams known for meticulous attention to detail in operations and appearance. Penske Logistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing, was recently named a General Motors 2004 Supplier of the Year for its overall business performance in providing GM with world-class service. Penske Logistics provides General Motors with supply chain management services to help drive efficiency and quality throughout its distribution network.

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The 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 marks the 50th anniversary of the Victory Lane Bottle of Milk tradition. To commemorate the anniversary representatives from the American Dairy Association presented a glass quart milk bottle for permanent display at the Speedway's Hall of Fame Museum. The bottle is identical to the one presented to the winner in victory lane.

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Mi-Jack Products announced that it would be an associate sponsor of the Newman Haas cars driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira. Mike Lanigan, President of Mi-Jack Products, co-owns Conquest Mi-Jack Racing with former driver Eric Bachelart.

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The list of current and former drivers now working as team spotters grew by two with the addition of Menards Pro Series drivers Mishael Abbott and Chris Festa. Abbott, who wheels the Hemelgarn Johnson Motorsports entry in the Pro Series, has been spotting for Jaques Lazier while Festa has been spotting for Richie Hearn. Festa and Hearn both drive for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. It's not uncommon for Pro Series drivers to spend time observing the driving lines of IndyCar Series drivers in preparation for the Futaba Freedom 100. "I've been able to watch Jaques and all of the other drivers from Turn 3 and see how they track through the turns," said Abbott. "I'm learning a lot about what lines they drive, and that should help me prepare." Former drivers spotting at the 500 include John Martin (Indy 500 '72-'76) Davey Hamilton (Red Bull Cheever) and Pancho Carter. Tom Sneva (Panther Racing) is expected to spot on race weekend and Rick Mears (Penske) is usually pressed into service for the 500 since the unique layout of the Speedway requires two spotters for each car.

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Turning laps today in Gasoline Alley, helmet in hand, were Thiago Medieros, Derek Hill, Roberto Moreno, Jimmy Kite and Jeff Simmons. Greg Ray has all but given up finding a ride and is a working as television analyst for ESPN.

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Sebastien Bourdais recently tested a non wing sprint car at Perris Auto Speedway in California and managed to impress those in attendance. Bourdais' Newman Haas Racing team co-owner Paul Newman arranged the private session. The speedway was closed to the public while Newman and his colleagues took turns behind the wheel of the powerful open wheel car.

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Series INDYCAR