IRL: Indianapolis 500 Race Day Notes

Indianapolis 500 Race Day Notes Ken Plotkin - motorsport.com - Motorsport News International The crowd present for the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 was treated to two pre-race flyovers. As CeCe Winans sang the National Anthem, a ...

Indianapolis 500 Race Day Notes Ken Plotkin - motorsport.com - Motorsport News International

The crowd present for the 83rd running of the Indianapolis 500 was treated to two pre-race flyovers. As CeCe Winans sang the National Anthem, a B-2 stealth bomber flew over the Speedway. Moments later, as the Purdue Band played Taps, a flight of four F-14 Tomcats appeared in a tight diamond formation.

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Goodyear arrived at the Speedway with 4200 tires. Goodyear has been present at the 500 since the early part of the century, with their first victory coming in the 1919 race. Today's win was their 27th since re-joining Indianapolis competition in the mid-1960s.

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Firestone, whose tires have been on 50 prior 500 winners, put in a strong performance with Firestone-shod cars running up front for much of the day. Firestone posted a $20,000 "Firestone First at '99" award, to the highest running Firestone driver at race lap 99. That award was won by Arie Luyendyk, race leader at lap 99.

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After three years of rain delays, this year's race was favored with good weather. Skies were clear or lightly overcast for pre-race festivities and the race itself, with temperatures from 86 to 90 degrees. Predicted afternoon thunderstorms cooperated by not appearing until after the race was completed.

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TV personality Jay Leno drove the Chevrolet Monte Carlo pace car. Leno is an avid automobile collector and enthusiast. Pagan Racing, whose #21 Pagan Racing Yahoo! MerchantOnline Dallara finished second today, presented Leno with an official team qualifying photo autographed by the entire team.

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Fans sitting in the southern end of the Tower Terrace were in their customary location, but not their actual familiar seats. Earlier this year those stands were torn down to make room for Formula One garages and pits for the US Grand Prix to be held September 24, 2000. Utility and foundation work for the new garages were completed, then paved over so that temporary stands could be erected for this year's Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

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Three drivers in today's 500 did double duty in major races this weekend. Robby Gordon and Roberto Moreno ran in today's 500 and in yesterday's CART Motorola 300 at Gateway. Gordon crashed early in yesterday's race, but finished a solid fourth in today's 500. Moreno finished fourth yesterday, and ran as high as sixth today before falling out with gearbox failure. Tony Stewart, after finishing ninth in today's 500, headed to Charlotte to run in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600, where he finished fourth.

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While this was the fifth time pole sitter Arie Luyendyk has started on the front row, today was the first time he led the first lap of the race.

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Winner Kenny Brack took the traditional drink of milk in Victory Circle. He claimed to have practiced for that by eating cereal and milk every morning this week. Car owner A.J. Foyt, who breakfasts with Brack, confirmed that their breakfasts did include cereal and milk. But Foyt shuddered over Brack also eating yogurt, while Brack shuddered over Foyt's breakfast including pork chops.

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This is the sixth time car #14 has won the Indianapolis 500. Three of those wins belong to A.J. Foyt: twice as owner/driver and now as an owner. Four time winner Foyt's first two wins were in car #1. Prior wins by #14 were Louie Meyer (1928) and Bill Vukovich (1953 and 1954).

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This Tuesday at 6:50 pm EDT (approx) CNBC's "On The Edge" will feature new sponsors to auto racing, including recent IRL sponsorships by Yahoo! and Energizer.

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Medical update: Late this afternoon IMS reported that Stephen Fried, admitted to Methodist Hospital with head and chest injuries following a pit road accident, was responding to commands and that his vital signs were stable. Fried, Chief Mechanic for #55 Robby McGehee, remains in critical condition.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robby Gordon , Robby McGehee , Arie Luyendyk , Roberto Moreno , Kenny Brack , Bill Vukovich , A.J. Foyt , Jay Leno