CARB DAY RAINS ADD FINAL DASH OF FRUSTRATION TO INDY PREP INDIANAPOLIS - Carburetion Day is a time-honored Indianapolis 500 tradition made more vital this year by the fact that so much practice time has been wiped out by rains, forcing teams to...
CARB DAY RAINS ADD FINAL DASH OF FRUSTRATION TO INDY PREP
INDIANAPOLIS - Carburetion Day is a time-honored Indianapolis 500 tradition made more vital this year by the fact that so much practice time has been wiped out by rains, forcing teams to work on their cars in their garages instead of on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
Friday was to have hosted the final hour of practice prior to Sunday's 500-mile marathon, and was a session that both Ryan Hunter-Reay (#17 Ethanol Dallara/Honda/Firestone) and Alex Lloyd (#16 Nintendo WiiFit Dallara/Honda/Firestone) were eagerly anticipating as the Rahal Letterman Racing rookies were hoping to get some time in traffic as they prepared for their first Memorial Day classics.
But as has already happened five times this month, rains ruled the day as the hour-long session was truncated to just 11 minutes of green-flag action. Both Lloyd and Hunter-Reay were able to get a handful of laps in before the rains hit, but were both hoping for more than the nine and 10 laps that they logged respectively.
"It's been hard for all of us and we would really like to be able to spend more time on track to get ready for Sunday," said Hunter-Reay, whose quickest of his 10 laps checked in at 216.896 mph (41.4946 seconds). "But in the end, we've done all we can do and everybody is in the same boat. As rookies, we are in a little tougher spot that the veterans, but I think we're ready and we're looking forward to race day. Right now, we've been here for the whole month, done a lot of standing around watching the rain and doing media stuff and I am just ready to go race. I wish we were racing today."
Lloyd echoed those sentiments after posting a best speed of 209.347 mph (42.9909 seconds).
"It rained. It's been raining. Not much we can do about it," Lloyd lamented. "All I can do is get in the car on race day and drive it as fast as it can go. It will be a little different for me to be in the middle of the pack for the race (Lloyd starts 19th, Hunter-Reay, 20th) as I think the farthest back I was last year in Indy Lights was third, so that will take some patience. Bobby Rahal and Arie Luyendyk have both told me a lot about what to expect and have stressed the need for patience, so we'll try and stay in the hunt for the first half of the race and be there when it counts at the end of the race."
The rain also washed out today's McDonald's Pit Stop Competition, denying the Rahal Letterman Racing squad a chance for its third pit stop championship. The #17 team earned a spot in the competition by winning a four-team qualifier last week, but the rain cancelled today's activity and the schedule for the next two days did not allow IndyCar organizers any room to reschedule.
Rahal Letterman Racing was able to use the rain to its advantage in one way however as the team took time to honor the retiring head of Honda Performance Development Robert Clarke. Clarke was presented with a plaque commemorating the very first Honda IndyCar test with Rahal Letterman Racing back in 1993 as well as the team's Indy 500 victory in 2004.