IRL: 2005 Indy 500 news 2005-02-24

ENTRY INVITATIONS MAILED FOR 89TH INDIANAPOLIS 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2004 -- Entry invitations for the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race were mailed Feb. 24 to race teams eligible to compete in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on...

ENTRY INVITATIONS MAILED FOR 89TH INDIANAPOLIS 500

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2004 -- Entry invitations for the 89th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race were mailed Feb. 24 to race teams eligible to compete in the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" on May 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Entries must be postmarked by midnight Wednesday, April 6. All drivers named to an Indianapolis 500 entry will compete for one of the 33 starting spots in the world's most prestigious auto race.

This year's event schedule features a variety of exciting changes designed to benefit fans and teams.

Opening Day is scheduled for Sunday, May 8, with a full three weeks of activity during the traditional Month of May at the Speedway beginning with the Rookie Orientation Program on May 8-9. Veterans move onto the track for practice on Tuesday, May 10.

Changes to the schedule include:

^ÕA new schedule for the Rookie Orientation Program. ROP will take place during the first two days of practice, May 8-9.

^ÕA new schedule for practice days, with on-track activity taking place from noon-6 p.m. each day (except for May 8-9), one hour less of track time per day than in past years. The later start time will reduce costs for teams over the three-week span of the event while still providing ample time to prepare for the most prestigious race in the world and the marquee event of the IndyCar® Series season. Track activity will take place from noon-5 p.m. May 8-9.

^ÕA new qualifying format designed to produce bumping on each day of qualifying. There also will be a return to the traditional four days of qualifying, expanding from the three days of recent years. MBNA Pole Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, with Second Day Qualifying on Sunday, May 15, Third Day Qualifying on Saturday, May 21 and Bump Day on Sunday, May 22.

^ÕA new date for Miller Lite Carb Day, which shifts to Friday, May 27 from its past Thursday date. The Futaba Freedom 100 also moves to Miller Lite Carb Day, a new date for that Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù race.

^ÕA new start time of noon local time for the Indianapolis 500. This is one hour later than in past years. The new start time moves the event into a better time slot for national television viewers and also provides more time for hundreds of thousands of race fans to arrive at the track on Race Day morning. ABC Sports and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network will broadcast the race live.

2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice leads a list of drivers expected to be named on entries. Rice earned his first "500" victory last season for Rahal Letterman Racing, co-owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and late-night television icon Dave Letterman.

Rahal Letterman also is expected to name drivers Vitor Meira and Danica Patrick on entries, as rookie Patrick attempts to become just the fourth woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves also is expected to be named on a Penske Racing entry along with teammate Sam Hornish Jr., a two-time IndyCar Series champion.

Other anticipated drivers include defending IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan and his Andretti Green Racing teammates, Dan Wheldon, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta, 2004 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Kosuke Matsuura, past IndyCar Series champions Scott Dixon and Scott Sharp, and past Bank One Rookies of the Year Alex Barron and Tomas Scheckter.

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Indy 500 tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 89th Indianapolis 500, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY or log on to www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Sam Hornish Jr. , Danica Patrick , Vitor Meira
Teams Team Penske