Rain brings practice at Indy to a halt

Rain brings practice at Indy to a halt

Rain showers brought preparations for the 2008 Indianapolis 500 to an abrupt halt on Wednesday (May 7th). The showers, which began mid-morning and continued intermittently throughout the day, thwarted attempts by the Indianapolis Motor ...

Rain showers brought preparations for the 2008 Indianapolis 500 to an abrupt halt on Wednesday (May 7th).

The showers, which began mid-morning and continued intermittently throughout the day, thwarted attempts by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Safety Crew staff to dry the track sufficiently that cars could circulate safely on the 2.5 mile oval.

The clouds explain the mood today in Indy.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

No cars made their way onto the track today, and tomorrow looks doubtful, as meteorologists predict thunderstorm activity will continue for another twenty-four hours in the central Indiana area.

Off-track activity did not abate, however, with Tony Stewart present to announce the introduction of a new four-cylinder, 350 horsepower Chevrolet USAC National Midget Car series racing engine to a gathered throng of media and GM personnel.

"Having the Chevrolet bowtie on the engine and not just on the sidepod of the car is indicative of how much technical support the brand has given us," said Stewart. "The debut of this new engine is the start of another exciting new chapter in our racing relationship."

Stewart's love affair with IMS and the Indianapolis 500 has not diminished, as he continued with, "There's a part of me that says running at Indy in an IndyCar is a closed chapter in my life; but an emotional part of me keeps saying 'Never say never' to the idea.

"If it happens it will be on down the road because of the other commitments I have, and the extensive preparation required in the month of May. I've run the Indy 500; and I still want to win the Indy 500," he added.

Also in the public eye were Bobby Rahal and son Graham, the latter preparing for his first attempt at qualifying at the famous Brickyard this coming Saturday.

"You never understand how it is until you're here," said the nineteen year old Graham. "It's a totally different thing.

"I'm here for the month and there's more pressure. I've never gone out there every single day like this before, or even tested a car for more than a couple of days straight."

Milka Duno gives an interview.
Photo by Andy Sallee.

Milka Duno kept the fans in the garage area entertained by posing for photos and signing autographs. Her recent movie debut appearance in 'Speed Racer' has her celebrity status riding an all-time high.

"Yes, yes, yes," she said of her experience on the silver screen. "I enjoyed the opportunity and it was flattering they chose me. I hope I get to do more."

HVM Racing's E.J. Viso kept busy in the paddock while he too waited in vain for the showers to end and the track to dry.

"I'm just working hard with the team on getting a good set-up," he said. "It's like a puzzle, putting the pieces together, at this track."

Viso's been getting a taste of Hoosier culture during his stay in Indy, running in the 13.1 mile Indy Festival Mini-Marathon last weekend and enjoying the pleasures of the city's pedestrian-friendly center.

"It's great," he said of his visit. "I've been out for dinner, and enjoyed walking around downtown. I like it."

The Speedway opens its gates on Thursday at 9:00am EDT with a scheduled Noon to 6:00pm practice session, weather permitting.

'Fast Friday' looms on the eve of Saturday's Pole Day qualifying here at the Brickyard.

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