IRL: Indy 500: Notebook 2002-05-24

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- Indy Racing Online (www.indyracing.com), the official World Wide Web site of the Indy Racing League, has attracted more than 200 million hits -- a record -- during May as of May 24. The site had 191...

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, May 24, 2002 -- Indy Racing Online (www.indyracing.com), the official World Wide Web site of the Indy Racing League, has attracted more than 200 million hits -- a record -- during May as of May 24.

The site had 191 million hits during the entire month of May in 2001, the previous record.

Site traffic was especially heavy on Pole Day, May 11, according to IQuest, an Indianapolis-based Internet service provider that hosts Indy Racing Online among its roster of corporate clients, which includes Fortune 500 companies. Indy Racing Online generated more traffic than all other IQuest sites combined on Pole Day.

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Celebs turning out: A number of celebrities are attending the 86th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

Actor Jim Caviezel will drive the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car on the pace laps before the race. Other film and television stars who plan to attend include David Letterman, Ashley Judd, Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle, Jason Priestley, Chris McDonald, Chris Noth, John Corbett and Nia Vardalos.

Actor Jim Nabors will sing the traditional "Back Home Again in Indiana," while actress Florence Henderson will sing the traditional "America the Beautiful."

Musicians scheduled to attend include John Mellencamp, four members of the band Incubus, the band Better Than Ezra and Smashmouth lead singer Steve Harwell.

Model Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, official spokeswoman of the Indy Racing League, also will attend.

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Got milk? The Indianapolis 500 tradition of the race winner drinking a bottle of milk in Victory Lane started in 1933 when winner Louis Meyer asked for a bottle of buttermilk to quench his thirst after spending nearly five hours in his race car.

"500" winners now drink a quart bottle of milk, not buttermilk. But the. driver actually can choose from whole, 2 percent, skim or lactose-free . milk Myrna Metzger, "The Milk Lady" who delivers the bottle of milk to . the Indy winner, brings a glass quart bottle of each kind of milk in . her cooler to Victory Lane .

Drivers who make their milk preference known before Race Day can choose from any of the four kinds of milk.

Tony Kanaan, who will start fifth in the race as the top rookie qualifier, put in a request for 2 percent milk after receiving the American Dairy Association of Indiana Fastest Rookie of the Year award on May 21.

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Luyendyk to provide TV talk during race: Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk will provide viewers of ABC Sports' exclusive live telecast of the 86th Indianapolis 500 with information direct from behind the wheel of his No. 55 Meijer G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone.

For the second consecutive year, Luyendyk plans to speak, via his two-way radio, with ABC announcers during the parade lap and caution laps. Luyendyk's Treadway and Associates Racing machine also will have an in-car camera.

Luyendyk worked in the ABC broadcast booth as an expert analyst in 2000 during his "hiatus" year from racing. He also has been an Indy 500 analyst for ESPN Radio this month.

ABC's telecast of the event starts at 11 a.m. (EDT) Sunday.

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Facts and figures: Miscellaneous facts and figures about the starting field for the 86th Indianapolis 500:

*There are six former winners in the starting lineup, the most since 1993, when there were also six past champions in the field. The former champions are: Arie Luyendyk (1990 and 1997) Al Unser Jr. (1992 and 1994), Buddy Lazier (1996), Eddie Cheever Jr. (1998), Kenny Brack (1999) and Helio Castroneves (2001).

*There are nine rookies in this year's field, the most since 1997, when there were 13. If a rookie wins this year's event it will be the first time in history that a rookie has won three consecutive years. Juan Montoya (2000) and Helio Castroneves (2001) were both rookies when they won.

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