Public drivers' meeting prepares field for Race INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 29, 2004 -- Drivers participating in the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race received final instructions and awards May 29 in the public drivers' meeting, the final activity...
Public drivers' meeting prepares field for Race
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, May 29, 2004 -- Drivers participating in the 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race received final instructions and awards May 29 in the public drivers' meeting, the final activity at the track before the race May 30.
The 88th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (EST) Sunday. The race will be broadcast live on ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network.
2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran and Marlboro Team Penske owner Roger Penske each accepted a "Baby Borg" trophy from Tim Manganello, chief executive officer of BorgWarner, Inc., for being the winning driver and car owner at the 2003 Indianapolis 500.
The Baby Borg is a miniature replica of the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which bears the bas-relief likeness, name and average speed of every Indianapolis 500 winner.
Penske also received his 13th winning car owner's ring from Mark Emkes, chief executive officer of Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire.
Donald Gurtner, chairman of the Directors of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana, presented a plaque with an American Dairy Association milk bottle to de Ferran for his victory last year.
Buddy Rice accepted the 2004 MBNA Pole Award from Dave Dworksy, vice president of MBNA. Rice won the MBNA Pole on May 15 with a four-lap average of 222.024 mph in his No. 15 Rahal-Letterman Argent/Pioneer Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone.
Actors Florence Henderson and James Garner presented special rings to 32 of the 33 starters. Robby Gordon, who is racing in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C., was unable to attend due to NASCAR commitments in Charlotte.
Rice then presented a special portrait, signed by all 33 drivers, to Thomas Snyder, president and chief executive officer of Delco-Remy, on behalf of the starting field.
Andy Granatelli, the two-time winning car owner known for the famous turbine-powered "whoosh mobile" cars that raced in 1967 and 1968, presented Jim Nabors with the Unsung Hero Award.
Actor and singer Nabors, best known for his role as Gomer Pyle on the television shows "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC," began his association with the Indianapolis 500 in 1972. He has sung "Back Home Again in Indiana" before the start of the race 24 times, including every year since 1983.
The drivers and overflow crowd gave a standing ovation to Speedway public address announcer Tom Carnegie, who has been the voice of the track since 1946. Carnegie was inducted into the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association earlier this year.
Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the Indy Racing League, concluded the driver's meeting by discussing race rules and guidelines with the drivers.