RAIN SCRAPS INDY PRACTICE RICE CLEARED BY IRL MEDICAL STAFF AFTER THURSDAY MISHAP SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Heavy rain showers and unusually cold spring temperatures cancelled practice on Friday for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. The biggest...
RAIN SCRAPS INDY PRACTICE
RICE CLEARED BY IRL MEDICAL STAFF AFTER THURSDAY MISHAP
SPEEDWAY, Ind. - Heavy rain showers and unusually cold spring temperatures cancelled practice on Friday for the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500.
The biggest news for Rahal Letterman Racing was the official medical clearance of 2004 Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice. Rice was involved in a single car crash on Thursday afternoon, one year to the day from the crash that sidelined him from the 2005 Indy 500.
"I'm okay," said Rice. "The doctors cleared me this morning. This rain is hard for our team because we wanted to run the backup car after Thursday's crash. But we are in the same position as everyone else. We hoped to get some more laps in for the morning practice and make a simulated qualifying run. With the new qualifying procedure, we are all in for a new experience with the waving off of our runs. With the weather being so unpredictable, we don't know if we will get in any practice or qualifying on the weekend. I think everyone would like to see some clear weather so we could get an idea how the cars will run in qualifying trim. Now we just have to wait and see."
Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone spent the day meeting with her engineers and conducting several national media interviews.
"It is frustrating to be here and know that you need to run and yet you can't get the time you need to work on the car," said Patrick. "Obviously we aren't where we want to be right now, but we have gone back and reviewed the set-ups and made a few significant changes. So many things can change at Indy with a change in the weather conditions. Last year we were fighting for the pole and had a great shot at qualifying at the front. Right now that will be a challenge, but the most important part of month is on May 28th, not Pole Day."
Jeff Simmons driver of the No. 17 Team Ethanol was disappointed that the rain cost him another day of practice. Although Simmons is preparing to make his second Indy start, he is essentially a rookie having logged minimal laps at Indy in 2004 prior to his start.
"It is no fun sitting around in the rain, said Simmons. "I think everyone is anxious to get out there and run some laps. It has been a tough mentally for a lot of guys this week just because we haven't had a lot of time on the track. Once we getting some more time I think everyone will feel better about their cars. I know we aren't the only team that would like more track time. But we have no control over the weather. The conditions always change so much here at Indy. We have to be prepared for any kind of weather this weekend."