Behind the Barriers: USGP day one

Teams that placed fifth through tenth in the 2003 Constructors Championship are eligible to practice with a third car in Friday's two practice sessions. While the Sauber team is eligible to run a third car, they have not nominated a test driver...

Teams that placed fifth through tenth in the 2003 Constructors Championship are eligible to practice with a third car in Friday's two practice sessions. While the Sauber team is eligible to run a third car, they have not nominated a test driver for this event. The following drivers are eligible to practice:

Anthony Davidson - BAR Honda
Bjorn Wirdheim - Jaguar Racing
Ricardo Zonta -- Toyota Racing
Timo Glock -- Jordan Ford
Bas Leinders -- Minardi Cosworth

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Tom Sutherland will become the youngest driver ever to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when he takes the start in the first of two Formula BMW USA events this weekend. The fifteen year old from Campbell, Calif., was born April 3, 1989.

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Federico Montoya, the 18 year old brother of 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and current BMW Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya, set the fastest time in the Friday's first Formula BMW USA free practice with a lap at 1:38.787. "We have been working very hard actually because of the crash (in Montreal). I think our time is very good, but we can improve," said Montoya. "we'll see what will happen in qualifying." Andreas Wirth, who leads the current standings in the series, was second fastest at 1:38.852.

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Plans are underway for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to host their sixth United States Grand Prix in 2005. While Speedway officials could not comment on the terms of the current contract, corporate vice president of communications Fred Nation said he would be surprised if there wasn't a grand prix at the Speedway next year. Less than 24 hours after the completinon of this year's race, fans renewing their grand prix tickets on Monday will be eligible to drive their car around the 4.192 km road circuit. Fans renewing tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com will need to print a receipt to be eligible to tour the circuit. Tickets can also be renewed at the ticket office or by bringing a completed ticket purchase form along with payment in the form of a check to Gate 10 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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Sir Jackie Stewart will lead 300 bagpipe players down the front straight as part of USGP pre-race activities. Bagpipe players from the U.S. Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Canada are in Indianapolis this weekend for Pipefest '04.

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Three weeks after winning the Indianapolis 500 with driver Buddy Rice, Bobby Rahal, co-owner of Rahal Letterman Racing, is back at the Speedway watching his son Graham race in Formula BMW USA competition. Asked if it was special seeing his son compete at the historic speedway, Rahal replied, "It sure is. I never thought he'd drive to begin with, so it's a plus every time he gets in the car." Rahal, who won the 1986 Indianapolis 500 driving for Jim Trueman, said the road course at the Speedway looked like fun in the Formula BMW cars. "I don't know about Formula One," Rahal added. In 1978, Rahal competed in the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal and the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen driving a Ford-powered Wolf.

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The United States Grand Prix will be broadcast by Speed Channel, which will provide the world feed to millions of viewers around the world. A staff of approximately 200 will utilize 35 cameras including an 80 mph "flying camera" mounted on a wire across from the pits, that can follow the cars as they enter and exit the pits. Live coverage of the United States Grand Prix begins at 12:30 EDT, Sunday, June 20.

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Olivier Panis will celebrate his participation in his 150th grand prix with cake and refreshments in the paddock on Saturday afternoon. The informal celebration will be held after the conclusion of on track activities.

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Chrysler is the title automotive sponsor of the second annual Indianapolis Concours d'Elegance, which features the best of classic cars, fashion and art. The event will be held on Monument Circle in the center of downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, June 19, the day before the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Event goers will have an opportunity to walk "Chrysler Row" and see 20 Chrysler vehicles, representing the best of Chrysler design and engineering over the past 50 years, as well as visit Chrysler's Club 300 and see firsthand the legendary HEMI® engine and other entertaining exhibits.

"Chrysler's history in Indiana dates back to the early part of the 20th century and since then, we have been committed to supporting the economic vitality of the many communities where we have manufacturing facilities and dealerships," said Jeff Bell, Vice President - Chrysler. "The Indianapolis Concours d'Elegance is not only a chance for Chrysler to showcase some of its best past and present vehicles, but also gives us a chance to give back to the community and support a very worthwhile cause."

Among the historic vehicles that will be on display on "Chrysler Row" are the 1949 Chrysler Town & Country, 1951 Chrysler Windsor, 1955 Chrysler 300 Sport Coupe and 1960 Chrysler 300F, as well as the Pronto Spyder, which debuted as a concept car in 1998.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Sauber , Williams , Toyota Racing , Minardi , Jaguar Racing , Jordan