DIXON LEADS RAIN-SHORTED PRACTICE FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - Pole sitter Scott Dixon paced an abbreviated practice session for the Indianapolis 500, lapping the historic 2.5-mile oval at 222.834 ...
DIXON LEADS RAIN-SHORTED PRACTICE FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, May 14, 2008 - Pole sitter Scott Dixon paced an abbreviated practice session for the Indianapolis 500, lapping the historic 2.5-mile oval at 222.834 mph.
Twenty-nine drivers made the most of 30 minutes of green flag time to complete 390 laps. Following a four-hour, 56-minute rain delay, the session that was scheduled to run from noon-6 p.m., finally opened under running yellow conditions at 4:56 p.m. Following a brief red flag for a heavy mist, the green flag was shown at 5:19 p.m. More rain brought out the checkered flag at 5:49.
Dixon, who won the pole for the 500-Mile Race with a four-lap qualifying average of 226.366 mph, was followed by Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon, who turned a lap at 222.810. Andretti Green Racing drivers Marco Andretti, Hideki Mutoh and Danica Patrick were third-, fourth- and fifth-fast, respectively.
John Andretti, who took over the No. 24 Roth Racing entry May 10, was fastest among 23 drivers who have not qualified for the race. Andretti's fastest lap was 221.386 mph.
Practice is scheduled from noon-6 p.m. on May 15-16. Third Day Qualifying is scheduled for May 17, and Bump Day is slated for May 18.
Entry update: The No. 21 Playa Del Racing entry has been withdrawn. The No. 88 Gardner Trucking American Dream Motorsports entry has been added with Phil Giebler as the driver of the Panoz chassis.
Giebler finished 29th in last year's Indianapolis 500 start, earning Chase Rookie of the Year honors in his only IndyCar Series start. The California native is a veteran of 19 Firestone Indy Lights starts, recording seven top-five finishes, including a victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2004.
Former Indiana Boxing Commissioner William Kelsey and Arizona businessman Eric Zimmerman purchased majority ownership of Playa Del Racing and have changed the team's name to American Dream Motorsports.
The two have entered cars in the IndyCar Series, Champ Car World Series and NASCAR intermittently since 1997. This will be their first full-time racing endeavor.
PHIL GIEBLER: "It's hard to put into words what it means to return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500. I had a huge learning curve in my rookie run last year, but I plan on this being a much better year. To say Indy is all I've thought about for the last 12 months would be an understatement."
Entry update: Roger Yasukawa will drive the No. 98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power Dallara/Honda/Firestone for CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports.
Yasukawa, 30, is a veteran of five Indianapolis 500s from 2003-07 and has posted two top-10 finishes. Overall, he has 38 IndyCar Series starts with a eight top-10 finishes.
Beck Motorsports has competed in the Indianapolis 500 since 1995, posting four top-10 finishes despite often arriving at the Speedway well after Opening Day.
ROGER YASUKAWA: "Hopefully we have the hardest part of the job done now, and we can concentrate on being on track and going fast. The good thing is Greg (Beck) has such huge experience here at the track, and I've been here five years so I feel comfortable just going into it. I've done the second-week deal last year, so this is nothing new to me. At this point, I really want to focus on the race setup. I have no question about getting into the field."
GREG BECK: "It's a great opportunity to have a driver the caliber of Roger in our car. Being an Indy 500 veteran, he has the depth of experience a team looks for, plus it's great to build on the relationship we started at Japan."
Legendary motorcycle daredevil Robbie Knievel will attempt to jump over 20 Hummer vehicles during the pre-race activities for the June 7 Bombardier Learjet 550k IndyCar Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.
Knievel, son of daredevil icon Evel Knievel, successfully jumped the entire IndyCar Series starting field on Oct. 6, 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Knievel, 46, has successfully completed 250 jumps, 20 of which resulted in world records. His career has been highlighted by the Caesars Palace fountain jump in 1989, the building-to-building jump in 1999 and the Grand Canyon jump in 2000. He performed in his first show with his father, Evel, at Madison Square Garden at the age of 8 and by 12 he was on tour.
Medical update from Dr. Michael Olinger, senior medical director for the Indy Racing League: #16 Alex Lloyd is cleared to drive. Lloyd was transported to Methodist Hospital for precautionary X-rays May 9 after his car made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1. A CT scan showed no fractures.
Indianapolis 500 veteran PJ Jones scored his first hole-in-one Monday at Brickyard Crossing Golf Course. Jones aced the 298-yard, par-4 14th hole, using a Taylor Made R5 driver.
Jones' drive hit just short of the green and rolled into the hole.
Pacific Coast Motorsports, which fields an Indianapolis 500 entry driven by rookie Mario Dominguez, has launched a revamped Web site at www.pcmracing.com.
Team owner Dale Coyne spoke about changes to the team's personnel following the injury suffered Friday by crew chief Chuck Buckman in a pit road accident.
DALE COYNE: "We had just picked up Gilbert Lage, who has been here a long time with Dick Simon and lots of teams in the past. He's an experienced guy, so we were able to grab him and get him on that car. You know, we've got some depth. We've picked up some guys for the month here. It was an unfortunate situation with Chuck the other day, to lose a quality guy like that. But we're working at it; we're getting through it. On the one hand, the rain is bad. On the other hand, it's enabled us to do a lot of things we weren't sure we were going to have time to do on the cars. But at the end of the day, we need to be out on the track running."
Veteran crew chief/engineer Larry Curry spoke about his new role as chief engineer for Roth Racing, which he joined this month. Roth Racing is fielding cars at Indianapolis for owner-driver Marty Roth and veteran John Andretti.
LARRY CURRY: "Well, for sure, we've got some challenges here. You know, the track time is important, I think, to everybody who's not in the field, yet. This will limit it. But the good news is, it's the same for everybody. So we need to find a little bit more speed out of our cars, but I think next weekend we'll be fine."
(Strategy for this week): "I think what we'll have to do is we'll have one guy working on a little bit of race stuff; the other guy working on qualifying and flip-flop it, and hopefully try to arrive at a reasonable package for both."
After pulling out of this year's shuttle services, IndyGo announced May 2 that a waiver now permits Park and Ride service to the Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
In February, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) unveiled new guidelines detailing how public transportation agencies can support local events. The guidelines are designed to limit public subsidized services from unfairly competing with private sector charter services. Public transportation agencies could face federal penalties and loss of revenue for noncompliance.
Roundtrip shuttle tickets for the Indianapolis 500 cost $15. Children age 2 and under ride free. Tickets will be available at all boarding locations the day of the Indianapolis 500. Advance ticket purchases may be made in person at the IndyGo Customer Service Center located in the Indianapolis City Market.
The express shuttle service will transport passengers to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning at 9 a.m., four hours before the official start of the race. Boarding locations include two locations in downtown Indianapolis and the airport.
Passengers can board the buses at the following locations:
*Illinois and Market - near Monument Circle
*IUPUI Lot 73 - off of Michigan and Blackford Streets Indianapolis International Airport
*Main Terminal - lower level, Terminal Drive
*International Arrival Parking - located on Banner Avenue and Pierson Drive
Passengers will be dropped off on Main Street near Gilman Street, which will also serve as the pick-up location after the race. Shuttle service will continue for three hours after the official end of the race.
Some of the shuttle locations charge individual parking fees. For information about parking fees, please visit www.indydt.com (downtown locations) or www.indianapolisairport.com (airport location).
For more information about IndyGo's routes and services, contact the Customer Service Center at (317) 635-3344 or stop by the center in the Indianapolis City Market. Details are also available online at www.IndyGo.net.
Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) today announced a partnership with Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), an urban research and academic health sciences campus with 21 schools and academic units, that includes sponsorship of Sarah Fisher's No. 67 Honda-powered Dallara for the upcoming Indianapolis 500.
The sponsorship of Sarah Fisher Racing is a collaborative effort between the IU School of Liberal Arts, the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology and the IUPUI campus administration.
Fisher was one of the first students in the Engineering Dual Degree Program, a joint effort between Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI and Butler University. Fisher has been a helping hand with the School of Engineering and Technology, as well as several units on campus, and has made personal appearances to meet and talk with undergraduate students.
SARAH FISHER: "The group at IUPUI has become great friends of mine over the years. I have talked with students many times, and at one time, I, too, was a student at IUPUI. I'm honored to be associated with a university that has such prestige. Education has always played an important role in my life, and I hope through our association others can share in that importance."
Roger Yasukawa, announced today as driver for CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports, used the rain delay today to complete a photo shoot with new sponsor hhgregg. Yasukawa posed in his No. 98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power Dallara/Honda/Firestone outside of his garage while dozens of fans looked on, taking shots of their own.
ROGER YASUKAWA: "Actually, since we were able to get the deal finalized yesterday, we just wanted to get a quick photo shoot done for the sponsors, hhgregg, CURB Records and RealPower, so at least we could get that sorted out. Hopefully we'll be on track so we can get some better ones - some actual running photos. It's just a bummer, not only for us, but for the fans that are out here. I really hope it's going to clear. It's definitely looking better for Friday, hopefully. Who knows what's going to happen tomorrow. I'm very happy that the hard part is over and we get to have fun now."
Jaques Lazier, who made six starts in the Indianapolis 500 from 2000-07, was in the garage area looking for a drive.
JAQUES LAZIER: "If it pays off, great, if it doesn't, that's the way it works, but we've been working pretty hard on it this past week and a couple of months before that, working sponsorship. It's tough right now, and we've definitely got a lot more interest. When the unification occurred, there was a lot more interest from corporate America, but it's still awfully tough right now. Everybody's wallets are pretty thin, and it's tough to allocate funds right now. But there's a few opportunities that still exist out here. Obviously, weather is playing a big part out here. There's some teams out here that are struggling that may be saying on Saturday, 'Hey, we need to get our car in the field,' and may be looking for someone with a little more experience. If that's the case, there's not a whole bunch of people here that don't have a ride who ha ve much more experience than me. You've got to stay optimistic and keep beating the path, and hopefully after two pairs of shoes, it will work out. It's always great to be here during the Month of May, no matter how you look at it. It's always fun to talk to old friends and to joke around about whether we're going to be able to make it out today, and if you do, do you really want to make it out anyway. The track is going to be cold, and if you can go out a lot of people are going to go out at the same time, so it's going to be chaotic out there. I don't think you can learn that much, but at the same time you have to look at the big picture, and the big picture is that the 25th might be the identical conditions as you run today. Even if you only go out there for 20 laps or something and just kind of get an idea of the kind of car you have and the setup you have, the engineers today are so darn good that they can come back over here and look at what they did and say , 'You know, next time the conditions are like this, I! would d o this to the car to make it a little bit better and more comfortable for the driver.' So, yeah, there's benefit to going out in these kinds of conditions, but you can go from hero to zero and it not be anybody's fault. You're just fighting a very cold track."
Alex Barron, who was a finalist to drive the No. 98 car, is still searching for opportunities with other teams. Barron has made five Indianapolis 500 starts, recording a best finish of fourth in 2002.
ALEX BARRON: "I'm still just talking to everybody. With the rain coming in, I'm sure that there will be a lot of guys trying to get the thing in the show quick. You never know. Every year, something happens. It's unpredictable. I just need to make sure I'm around, and hopefully I'll get a chance. I think later on in the week
(the poor weather) might help my chances. It's hard to say how many cars are going to try to qualify, but at the same time, everyone wants to get in as early as possible because of the conditions, and sometimes teams and drivers try harder than they should at a particular moment, and being here racing the race quite a few times has a bit of pull. I just have to wait and see. I made the commitment to do everything I can to get in, and I'll be here 'till' at least Sunday and hopefully I'm racing."
Wii Fit, Nintendo's newest video game, is the primary sponsor on the No. 16 entry driven by Alex Lloyd. The sponsorship comes from a partnership with Nintendo and Target. Lloyd is under contract to Target Chip Ganassi Racing and is driving a combined effort between the Ganassi team and Rahal Letterman Racing.
ALEX LLOYD (No. 16 Rahal Letterman with Chip Ganassi): "This is very exciting for me as the fact that I will be in the No. 16 Wii Fit Honda is pretty cool. I love playing video games and working out. This is a great combination of the two. As far as the race goes, to drive for two racing legends like Chip (Ganassi) and Bobby Rahal is a thrill for me. Any race car driver dreams of winning this race, and I am going to relish every moment of the month."
A media panel will select the recipient of the Scott Brayton Award for the first time this May. Past recipients were selected by Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials from the award's inception in 1997 through 2007.
The Scott Brayton Driver's Trophy is awarded to the driver best exemplifying the character and racing spirit of late driver Scott Brayton, who suffered fatal injuries in a practice crash during the 1996 Indianapolis 500 after winning his second consecutive pole for the event. The award will be presented during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Celebration on Monday, May 26 at the IMS Plaza Pavilion.
Fifteen Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League safety vehicles combined to drive more than 6,750 miles today in their track-drying efforts. That equates roughly to a roundtrip between San Diego and the Maine/Quebec border. Each of the 15 vehicles logged approximately 450 miles.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-PRACTICE QUOTES:
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Indiana Jones presented by Blockbuster): "Obviously, the weather is the same for everyone, but it's still disappointing to get so little time on track in the Indiana Jones/Blockbuster car. We still need a couple of days of full-tank runs to get a good handle on the race setup. It has been good, though, because the rain has given us some extra time to sign autographs and talk to the fans who paid to come out and didn't get to see any action."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): "We know that the 7-Eleven car will be ready for Race Day, but it would still be nice to get as many full-tank runs in as possible. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow."
ALEX LLOYD (No. 16 Rahal Letterman with Chip Ganassi): "It was nice to get in the car and get in at least a few laps today with the way the weather was looking. We were basically just doing leak-checks, having had the accident and put the car back together again. We wanted to make sure everything was OK. We got what we needed to accomplish today. The car is OK, and we know what we need to do. Hopefully if we get some running in tomorrow, we can get a couple more laps at speed and see what we can do."
(How are you feeling after your accident last week?): "I feel fine, absolutely perfect. One-hundred percent."
MAX PAPIS (No. 44 Rubicon Race Team/Lifelock): "Even though we had a short day, it was still great to be out there on the racetrack. We went out in our race configuration, and I was really pleased since every time we go back to our known quantity, the car is good. We just hope we can get it to work with a bit more consistency so that we will be able to get a bit more of the speed that we think the car is capable of. Considering we just did short runs, I am pretty happy. With the track conditions as they are, it is crazy for us to try any qualifying runs today. Over Turns 3 and 4 there were huge dark clouds, and I was just waiting for it to pour down. We will have plenty of time Friday to get the car up to speed and where we want it for qualifying, so I am not concerned as they pay you the big bucks to race, not qualify."
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Motorola): "I wish the weather would have allowed the Motorola team some more practice time today, but I am happy with the time that we did get. My crew was able to make a couple of changes that made the car feel real balanced. Hopefully we can get a full day of practice in tomorrow."
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing): "I'm going to guess that the trucks out there have done more laps than any Indy cars this month. I think we'll get some running in this week, and all three cars will be focusing on the race. We'll certainly have plenty of tires. We've missed so much track time that we'll be using Saturday and Sunday to run, as well, when there are breaks in the qualifying line. I think you are going to see a lot of people taking advantage of as much track time as possible. You want to get out there when there are a bunch of other cars out there to run race setups, but when that track does goes green, with the limited amount of time we have had, I'm going to bet that everyone will be out there at the same time."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 2 Vision Racing): "I'm not going to get too worried or get too frustrated because the way we unloaded the car on Opening Day, we had a basic race setup, and we know what that felt like. We haven't been able to do full-tank and long runs, but I think we still know what direction to go to. The one thing we can't control is Mother Nature, so you might as well not get too upset or frustrated about it."
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing): "This has been a very different week than I have ever had at Indy with all this rain and such short amount of track time. I guess the good thing is that it gives us plenty of time to do a lot of strategizing, and we know where we want to be and what we're going to do when we go out there. It's just a little frustrating, to be honest with you, especially in my situation where I haven't had a lot of track time. Thank God I'm with this Vision team with guys that run full time, engineers that do this full time, so I'm ahead of the game a little bit. Hopefully the rest of the week will be clear, but we won't hold our breath just yet."
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Team ResQ/Gravity Entertainment): "(About weather): "Yeah, it is disappointing. Our team, being a fresh team to the league and the series, it's disappointing, but what can you really do about the weather? You just have to try to plan around it as best you can, and the Indy 500 is certainly about people who can alter their plans and change for the adverse conditions. I think, if anything, it's only educating us for Race Day. I come from sprint cars, so if you don't get it done in four laps, you won't. It gives us some time to work on the car a little bit more and perfect things that we may or may not have had time to do coming into the month of May. So whether or not it's raining, we're still taking advantage of time, and we're still working toward making the car faster and faster every day, whether it's on the track or in the shop."
(About struggle with s ponsorship): "Any publicity is good publicity, and certainly the publicity that we've received out of the folks that are supporting our team is tremendous in the fact that it has attracted IUPUI and it's attracted Hartman Oil out of Kansas. Both of those associates would have not been on board, probably, if they hadn't known that we were having trouble. So all the press is great, and the more exposure that we get, the more we're able to tell our story. Say, 'Hey, here's where we were and here's what we thought was going to happen, and then it didn't.' It's a lot more work for the month of May than I thought it was going to be for myself. I thought once I got here and I cleared the check, the wires deposited, all is good. All I have to do is focus 110 percent on race car driving, and I've had to spend some time on team ownership. The rain really hasn't bothered me from being a team owner, but it has from a driver, so it's the devil on one and the angel on th e other."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power): "For a shakedown today, it was pretty good. We got a couple of runs out of it, but we still need to sort out the aero balance, and we can do that tomorrow. It's nice to get the shakedown out of the way so we can focus on going faster tomorrow. I would have certainly loved to have had more track time, but it is what it is."
(On being back at Indianapolis): "It's great to be here, and every lap you go around here, you have to really appreciate it because you don't get to do that every day. I'm smiling in the car every turn I go through."
(On racing once again with Beck Motorsports): "We've got the same crew (we had in Motegi) and (team owner) Greg (Beck) is doing the engineering part, and I think the most important thing is h e knows my vocabulary and how I explain how the car is doing. Once we get a little more track time, we will be moving up the chart."
(On focus during Thursday's practice): "We'll probably focus a lot more on the race setup. It's very important to have a good platform to work with, and there is no need to keep trimming the car out without having a good platform. We're probably risking a lot at that point, so we're just going to have to play it by ear with the weather. I would say once we get the fundamental stuff sorted out, we'll be up there."
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 24 Roth Racing): "The direction we were going in was a big battle. I think the car is pretty good. I mean, a little bit of nerves going out on cold tires and making sure that I got everything underneath me. But then by Lap 3, then I could run, and my cousin Marco (Andretti) passed me, and the car in the back of him just got the tires going then. We're basically in a race for downforce. I felt pretty good about it at that point, and I think that we have a pretty good, solid car that we can start coming and we can get some more speed out of it now. I'm not worried about the race; I'm worried about qualifying. I don't have a lot of experience with these cars right now, but I have a lot of experience around the Speedway, and I think working last year with Panther Racing really helped me a lot. Vitor and I got to talk to them a lo t, so that really accelerated what I had for this year. Last year, I didn't even start until tomorrow, so I think that I'm way ahead of my game now, and I feel like we've got a good solid baseline. We'll work from there. I know there's more speed in it, and how much more we need I think is going to be pretty small compared to where we are right now. I was pretty surprised we even got any track time. I think there is a little bit of age in me, because when I start seeing raindrops on my visor, I said, 'OK, I'm done,' and then they threw the yellow, and now the track is all wet. So I guess maybe I'm not as brave as I used to be or maybe just not as dumb as I used to be. But I think that today we learned a lot. We took a big jump at the setup. We learned some things on Saturday, and we really feel really good that we're getting closer to where we need to be. We were in race trim configuration downforce-wise, so I think that a lot more speed can get built in the car."
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "We weren't able to accomplish a lot today. We wanted to put a few miles on some parts on the McDonald's car, and that's about all we did. We went out at the end with some new tires after having run old tires before that and were trying to put down a baseline just to quantify a few changes we've made since Saturday, and I got halfway around on my first timed lap and it rained. As I was finishing my out lap, the guys came on the radio and said it was raining in Turn 3. Just when I was thinking we would get a chance to baseline it and learn something, we had to stop. We did a few laps on old tires, and that was about it today. We have a lot of work to do on Friday and Saturday in terms of race setup."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps): "We didn't get much done in terms of setup today, but we had some parts we needed to get broken in, so I guess we accomplished something. It's better to do it today than to waste time on another day, but it's tough to not be on track more. I'm one of those guys that over-thinks things a little too much, and any time you are going over 200 mph and you see rain drops on your visor … I don't like that too much. Overall, we got those parts broken in and also know that the car has too much understeer in traffic. Based on the forecast, we consider tomorrow gone. The forecast is good for Friday, and I think we'll just work on race setup and even again on Saturday morning. We had a good qualifying car so we'll just throw that setup on, and I think we can get in the field comfortably and go from there."
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream): "Assuming it will rain again tomorrow, it was good that we got some track time today. We were able to try some of the setup changes on Formula Dream car, and we were able to get a pretty balanced car. So we are happy with what we were able to accomplish in such a short time."
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia): "I was able to get a longer run at the end and get a better feel for what the KV Racing Technology Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia car does over a number of laps. The conditions were pretty cool conditions, and the track was green, so I wasn't able to get up to speed. These rain days have been frustrating, but we only have a certain number of tires and a certain number of miles we can do on the engine anyway. But it has definitely been more rain than we need."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology): "The rain is a little bit frustrating. It's like going to the office, seeing all the work you need to get done and not being allowed to do it. It is the same for everyone; it just makes things tougher for the guys like us that need to qualify this weekend. We only have two days, and it looks like it will rain tomorrow, so just Friday, to work on the race setup and feel confident about the qualifying run on Saturday. It is going to be very interesting. For the KV Racing Technology team, we had hoped to test a lot this month and catch up to the established teams. We have caught up some, but these rain days are not helping us that much. I really don't think it makes much difference if you start 12th or 20th at this point; I would just like is to have a good race car. Our focus on Friday will be to make the show and make sure we have a good race car."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "The track was green, and a lot of people didn't think we were going to run because there was quite a bit of mist. We got maybe 15 or 20 laps. We just wanted to see how the car handled in traffic. Because there was so little laps, everybody was out there, so we got to run in traffic a little bit and see how the balance was. We have a little bit of understeer, especially in traffic, It was pretty decent, but it was basically about who got the biggest tow. I think Dan (Wheldon) and I had a few decent tows when we were trying to pass cars, and so did Marco (Andretti). It was a good day for Team Target because you learn something every time you are on track."
DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): "We were working on race stuff, and we didn't get a lot of time, but I think we have an idea of where our car is at. What we're going to do now is try an improve it."
(About the conditions): "You take (the conditions) into consideration with downforce levels and stuff like that. We're just trying to simulate what race conditions may be like."
JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari): "It was good to finally be back on track. I was back in the 34 car, after driving the 36T car last week, and it's still there. Our setup today was a race setup; we were trying to see where we are. Tomorrow if we have track time, we will focus on qualifying, but I think we're good. It was just 35 minutes, but I am happy with the car. We were going to improve, but the rain came back, so we couldn't do anything. As soon as we have track time, we are going to be there, adjust some things, and we're going to be good."
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing): "It was good because it had been three days that I wasn't in the car. It's always good to get mileage, and you always learn on a track like this one. Today went well. It was good preparation in case we have a day like this on Saturday for qualifying. You have to be ready to go out there no matter what time the session starts, and you also have to be able to get the best out of the car in any condition. Now we will keep our fingers crossed that we can have more track time tomorrow and Friday before qualifying this weekend."
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (No. 96 Visit Mexico City/Pacific Coast Motorsports): "Wow … this is crazy weather. I am grateful for the 22 laps we ran because for us every lap is like gold. We ran just enough to get an idea of how the changes we've made over the last few days feel. We are still fighting too much understeer, but at least we know that and the engineers have something to work with tonight. I just returned today from Mexico City, where I received a very nice honor yesterday when the city named me their Official Ambassador of Sport and Tourism. I've received such incredible support from my home city, and it makes me very proud. Hopefully the sunshine will return, and we'll be back on track making more progress tomorrow."
A total of 40 cars are currently at the Speedway and have passed technical inspection. Thirty-five drivers have been on the track to date and have turned 5,595 laps this month. Will Power turned 25 laps today and has turned 311 this month, most of any driver. A total of 96 IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers have passed physicals at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.
THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
9 a.m. Public Gates Open
Noon-6 p.m. IndyCar Series practice
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 23 at Indianapolis. It will be telecast at 4 p.m. (EDT) on May 23 on ESPN2.