Rain and cold again dampen Indy 500 preparations

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Rain and cold again dampen Indy 500 preparations

By Allan Brewer, IndyCar correspondent

Story Highlights

  • Rain again in Indianapolis
  • De Silvestro meet with the press corps

Rain, rain, go away


For the second consecutive day practice for Saturday's Indianapolis 500 pole qualifications was frustrated by cold, rainy conditions lingering over Speedway, Indiana and its world famous 2.5 mile oval ring of asphalt pavement. Rain erupted onto an almost dry track at approximately 3:30 PM EDT, just as cars and drivers began making their way from Gasoline Alley onto the pit lane after an initial delay of the scheduled Noon start that was also caused by showers.

It's raining a lot here in Indy this week.

Simona de Silvestro

The cancellation of practice on Wednesday leaves two days for teams to trim their cars out for a shot at the inside position of the first row for May 29th's Indianapolis 500. Only one of the first five days of practice for the race has been conducted through its entire six-hour length, as Saturday's Opening Day drew a late start due to rain while Sunday, Tuesday and now Wednesday have been lost.

The weatherman is calling for cloudy conditions with a 30% chance of rain of Thursday in Indianapolis, with a high in the upper 60's. Practice resumes on Thursday at Noon EDT with a six hour session planned, weather permitting of course.

Simona de Silvestro, HVM Racing
Simona de Silvestro, HVM Racing

Photo by: Alain Ehrhardt

Anxious drivers for the most part waited in the garages for the weather to improve. Others sought physical recreation to quiet the nerves and stay in shape during the down time. Among the latter was Simona de Silvestro, the young Swiss racer who has turned heads since her arrival at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a rookie IndyCar driver in 2010.

"It's raining a lot here in Indy this week, and we've had a lot of racquetball matches," she said of the friendly competition she's struck up with her driving coach Bob Perona. "I've been pretty good against him, so he wants a rematch pretty much every time it rains now."

"It's kind of weird not having that many laps out there, and it's already Wednesday," she continued, adding that she thinks Thursday and Friday will be more conducive to running on the track as planned. "We have a direction we want to go with the setups, we want to try a couple of different things."

"You want to do more laps here because it is an intimidating place. The first lap I did on Saturday, I was, 'Wow, it is pretty fast out there.' Your mind has to kind of get used to the speed."

"Going down the straightaway, which is so long, and then thinking you're going to be flat out through the corner too…it takes a little time to get used to that that," she said. "The car feels so different on the ovals. It's a completely different animal out there."

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Series INDYCAR
Tags de silvestro, gasoline alley, indy 500, izod, rain