IRL: Rain, fog invade The Glen

This weekend's penultimate IndyCar Series race of the 2005 season, the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage will certainly be interesting, as much for the weather as the competition. With the dawn of Friday's initial day of...

This weekend's penultimate IndyCar Series race of the 2005 season, the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage will certainly be interesting, as much for the weather as the competition.

With the dawn of Friday's initial day of practice, there were low lying clouds and fog present on the hilltop site of the historic 3.37-mile Watkins Glen International road circuit. Temperatures hovered in the low to mid 60-degree range.

Just 30 minutes before the initial practice was to begin for 20 entries (no Ethanol Hemelgarn car and merely two Ganassi entries) it began to sprinkle and then rain intensely, and fog permeated the area.

It will be enticing to separate the drivers from the ducks once practice does get underway. We can expect yellow conditions at the start of the two- hour all-skate session set to run from 10-12 EST this morning.

Drivers who have known prowess in these types of conditions far outweigh those who don't but it's been quite a while since many of raced on a road course in an Indy car in the wet.

Just the same, expect the usual suspects at the front of the field with Ganassi's second driver, Giorgio Pantano expected to be amongst them. Scott Sharp hasn't performed in the wet since his Trans Am days, nor has Sam Hornish Jr. since his short Toyota Atlantic career; Ed Carpenter has no wet/road racing experience and Roger Yasukawa has little to bring to the table.

Expect good results from the Andretti Green quartet, from Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Jeff Bucknum (in A.J. Foyt's car again), Buddy Rice and Vitor Meira, as well as Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier. Kosuke Matsuura is an unknown quantity in this equation.

It is just after ten now and the Delphi Safety Team are sweeping the course in preparation but with visibility barely 50 yards, it is unlikely we'll see cars on the track for quite some time. The Indy cars are prepared to race in the rain and, during Toyota's open test last week there was some mist to go with low 70s temps.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Giorgio Pantano , Scott Sharp , Patrick Carpentier , Scott Dixon , Alex Barron , Roger Yasukawa , Jeff Bucknum , Kosuke Matsuura , A.J. Foyt , Sam Hornish Jr. , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira