On-track activity was postponed for the second day in a row at this weekend's inaugural Rockingham 500 at the Rockingham Motor Speedway. The weather was dry most of the day, with only a brief noontime sprinkle providing the only precipitation. ...
On-track activity was postponed for the second day in a row at this weekend's inaugural Rockingham 500 at the Rockingham Motor Speedway. The weather was dry most of the day, with only a brief noontime sprinkle providing the only precipitation. But track workers continued to battle water seepage from under the track near all four corners of this brand new 1.5-mile oval, which has prevented CART FedEx Championship Series competitors from conducting today's scheduled practice and qualifying sessions for Saturday's race.
Saturday's schedule, weather and track conditions permitting, looks like this: Two hours of practice beginning at 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. EDT); a 10-minute "warm-up" at 2:20 p.m. local time (9:20 p.m. EDT); and a race start set for 3:10 p.m. local time (10:10 a.m. EDT). The race broadcast has been shifted to ESPN2 on a tape-delayed basis beginning at noon EDT.
The starting grid for Saturday's race, for the second weekend in a row, will be set according to the current driver point standings. Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard will start 10th. The team earlier this week withdrew the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard in the aftermath of driver Alex Zanardi's horrific crash during the latter stages of last weekend's German 500 in Lausitz.
ALEX ZANARDI MEDICAL UPDATE
Alex Zanardi's condition continues to improve. He was awake and aware of his condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Klinikum Berlin-Marzahn Hospital Friday. Doctors say he seems to be accepting his situation as well as could be expected, taking the view that he will be able to enjoy his life with his wife, Daniela, and son, Niccolo. He underwent a fourth scheduled surgery today to inspect and clean his wounds after both legs were amputated as a result of last weekend's accident in Germany. Doctors were to determine if any further surgery would be required.
"We are all very encouraged by the progress that Alex is making. Our thoughts and prayers have been with him all week long, and somebody up there is definitely listening. We're ready to go racing. The problem, unfortunately, is that the ground under the track is saturated after the rain they have had here during the last week. The locals keep telling us that this is usually one of their driest months of the year, so we all thought it would be a safe bet that we would get our normal amount of track time in. Well, strange things happen. We're down to one two-hour practice, if we can get it in, before the race. Hey, we made the most of our only two hours on the track last Friday in Germany (Kanaan and Zanardi were 1-2 in practice), so we're confident we can make the best use of our time getting used to this track. We've never turned a lap here, which will make it a challenge once again. But it's the same for everybody. I'm confident (engineer) Eric (Cowdin) and Morris and the boys will give me another great race car, like last week. We've been solid on ovals all year long, and there's no reason to think we won't be again tomorrow. I wish I could say the same for my confidence in the track workers being able to solve the wetness problem all over the track. We'll just keep taking it one day at a time."