IRL: Indy 500: Blair Racing practice one and two notes

Rayovac Blair Racing Indianapolis practice sessions - day one and day two. INDIANAPOLIS (May 6, 2002) Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. and Blair Racing completed the second day of practice preparing for the 86th ...

Rayovac Blair Racing Indianapolis practice sessions - day one and day two.

INDIANAPOLIS (May 6, 2002) Rayovac Blair Racing driver Alex Barron of Menifee, Calif. and Blair Racing completed the second day of practice preparing for the 86th running of the Indianapolis 500. Showers replaced a string of hot and sunny days with rain forecasted for most of today and the remainder of the week. The team waited for the heavy rain to subside and the track to dry in order to get more laps in while preparing for the 500 mile race that will take place on May 26.

Barron and the Rayovac team were impressive on Day One, logging 22 laps on the 2.5-mile, four turn oval. The Blair Racing driver posted the sixth fastest time of the day with a speed of 226.170. Barron joined the top-five fastest drivers welcoming the crowd on opening day. Some of the drivers finishing ahead of him included two - two-time Indy 500 winners, the 2001 Indy 500 winner and the 2001 pole sitter. Barron is an IRL regular and has driven professionally on ovals since 1998; he is not considered a rookie in regular IRL season competition but is ranked as a rookie for the 2002 Indianapolis 500. He is currently in ninth place in the drivers' standings in the IRL series.

"Overall it was a very good day for the Rayovac Blair Team," said Barron reflecting on Opening Day. "We had a very good direction with the chassis. We picked up a lot of time on the straight-aways. All of the hard work that has been done over the last month by the team; they have spent many hours finding a way to make speed for Indy. McLaren has moved forward. Opening Day, had better track conditions than the two test days we did in April. We wanted to continue our progress in speed and setup from testing at Indy in April. The whole team is working together to get the Rayovac Blair car solid in the field on Pole Day. We want to win the race and we're here just to run and finish the race. The level of the Rayovac Blair team enables us to look ahead and aim at winning. Due to the fact that we had a great week at Nazareth; running so well (third overall on Friday, started the race tenth and finished sixth after running in the top-five and top-ten all day) and getting a great sponsor like Rayovac enables us to have a lot of confidence and momentum going into Indy. A lot of the challenges of driving and setting up the car at Indianapolis is always analyzed and can be difficult due to weather, the changing conditions, from wind, temperature and the new track surface. The track will continue to change; it was green during testing and once everyone got on it and the rubber starts to be laid down on the track, set up will again be another challenge. I haven't driven at Indy before but have watched it year after year waiting for this opportunity. The level in the field is going to be very high this year. But, at the same time it means the achievement and finishing results will mean that much more at the end."

For today, the team was able to head out to pit lane at 4:30 p.m. for a short late afternoon practice session under sunny skies. The goal for the short session was to test the new track conditions after the rain and in the light wind.

"The track was green from the rain today," said Barron. "Due to the fact that the track was recently shaved to smooth the bumps out and the added facts that the track was green; there was a lot of dust particles that was pulled out of the track. These particles washed across the track surface. This caused the car to have a lot less grip than yesterday and extreme wear on tires. We adjusted the car for the changing conditions throughout the session. We feel we came to a good balance at the end but got held up in traffic in Turns Three and Four. We were not able to complete a fast rolling lap before the end of Happy Hour. We feel we have a handle on the car and we should be able to improve our speed tomorrow."

Regular practice resumes tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Rain and storms are in the forecast for the next few days.

The 86th Indianapolis 500 starts at 11 a.m. (EST) May 26. MBNA Pole Qualifying starts at 11 a.m. May 11. Second-day qualifying starts at noon May 12. Bump Day Qualifying starts at noon May 19. Additional practice is scheduled through May 10 and May 15-18. Pole Day practice starts at 9 a.m. May 11. Second-day qualifying practice starts at 10 a.m. May 12. Bump Day practice starts at 10 a.m. May 19. Coors Carb Day practice starts at 11 a.m. May 23. The race will air on the ABC television network and the IMS Radio Network at 1:00 p.m. eastern; check local listings.

More information and live timing and scoring can be found at the IRL's official website at www.indyracing.com.

Powerful facts about Rayovac: Rayovac is one of the world's leading battery and lighting device companies. Rayovac also markets the number-one selling rechargeable brand of battery in the U.S. with nearly a 70 percent share. In addition, the company is the world leader in hearing aid batteries with a 60 percent worldwide share. Rayovac trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ROV symbol.

Rayovac markets a variety of batteries including alkaline and heavy duty batteries; lithium coin cells; zinc air hearing aid batteries; and rechargeable alkaline and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries and chargers. The company also markets a broad line of battery-operated flashlights and lanterns.

More information about Rayovac can be found at www.rayovac.com.

www.BlairRacing.com keeps fans up-to-date with all the latest team news and information.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Barron