4:11 p.m. - Persistent rain has forced the postponement of the Firestone Freedom 100. The race is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Saturday. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network and will be telecast by ESPN2 at 1 p.m. (ET) on May...
4:11 p.m. - Persistent rain has forced the postponement of the Firestone Freedom 100. The race is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Saturday. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network and will be telecast by ESPN2 at 1 p.m. (ET) on May 31.
The inaugural Firestone Freedom 100 in 2003 was also delayed by rain. The race started on May 17 but was stopped on Lap 13 due to rain. It was restarted and completed the next day.
FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POSTPONEMENT QUOTES:
"I'm disappointed for all the people who came out today. I don't think there will be the same atmosphere tomorrow because everyone comes out for Carb Day. You don't know if they'll come back. It's going to be different, for sure. That's all part of oval racing. You can't run in the rain, but it's the same for everyone. I guess the best part about a rainout is I live in Indianapolis, so I don't have to re-book a flight or hotel."
(About racing on a green track): "We ran at the Open Test on a very cold track with rain and wind, so I got the feel for driving the circuit in non-ideal conditions, so I feel confident about tomorrow."
"Yesterday was such a nice day, and today has been the complete opposite. It's disappointing to not race because everyone was here to see a show, and all they got to see to concert. We'll be back tomorrow, and hopefully there will be crowd to see us. There was great showing today, and it would have been great to put on a great show for them. The people waited in the rain and are still here. They deserved to see good show."
"It's such a tough deal. You can't do anything about the weather. We would have liked to run today rather than tomorrow, but there's not anything we can do about it. We just need to regroup and figure what we need to do for tomorrow."
(About racing on a green track): "Everybody is in the same boat. I don't think it will be any more of an issue for us than it will be for anybody else. We've had fast cars no matter what the conditions have been. We had some problems in qualifying, but that's didn't reflect on the car setup."
"It's really disappointing. There were a lot of people here to see a great schedule of events, and the race was going to be televised live. All of it was super-exciting. It was a great chance for all of the drivers to get exposure they probably wouldn't have gotten, but we understand the conditions and understand why we can't run today."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR.:
"It's a shame that we didn't get the race in today. I was confident in the Targus/AFS/AGR car today and thought we would have challenged for the win. I feel bad for Targus since their debut with the team would have been televised live around the nation."
"Of course I am disappointed that we didn't get to race today. I really felt like the AFS/AGR car was going to be really fast today, and I was mentally prepared to be racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I am excited for the race tomorrow and think that the AFS/AGR car will be up front challenging for the win."
"I've done this many times before. The only difference between today and tomorrow is tomorrow is my birthday, and it would be nice to win on my birthday. Rainouts happen a lot in NASCAR. It's a waiting game. You just sit around and wait with the team. My family is in town, and I'll hang out with them tonight, but tomorrow I'll get back to business."
"It's a long time to stay focused and mentally prepared for a race. It's a shame that we couldn't get it in today. I'll relax tonight and then get focused again in the morning. Tomorrow will be business as usual. The game plan is going to stay the same, but with all the rain, the track may be a bit less quicker than I expected it to be."
JOIE CHITWOOD (President and COO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway):
"This is not where we wanted to be today, but Brian (Barnhart) and his team and the staff at the Speedway did everything we could to get that track to come around. In fact, we were starting to see improvement when the last rain came."
(About the effects to the weekend schedule): "Today at three o'clock we canceled the (McDonald's) Pit Stop Challenge, and that is not going to be rescheduled this weekend. At 3:30, we decided that there was no longer the ability to run the IndyCars, so that schedule was canceled with no replacement. The Indy Lights portion has been rescheduled for tomorrow. So tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. we have the public driver's meeting, and following that we will have the (Firestone) Indy Lights race at 12:10 p.m."
(About timing of decision to cancel Friday's events): "I think one of the things Brian and I are committed to is trying to exhaust every opportunity to run the day that we schedule something. It would have been easy for us to look at the radar and come in here around noon today and say, ‘Sorry, we're not going to run.' That's not why we want to do it. There's a lot of people out here who want to see cars on track, and that's why we're in here today at 4:30 saying we gave it our best shot."
(About the latest the IMS would allow cars on the track today): "Brian and I said to ourselves that if we could get the (Firestone Indy Lights) race started by 6:30, we would be comfortable letting it run until 7:30. That is much later than we would normally do things. We tend to end running at six o'clock, but based on the number of fans we had out here today and the challenges of moving it to tomorrow, we were prepared to go that late today. "
BRIAN BARNHART (President, competition and operations division, Indy Racing League):
(About effect of rain-shortened Miller Lite Carb Day on the race for teams): "I don't think it's going to be too bad. We had 11 minutes of activity. Thirty-two of the 33 cars did at least an installation check. Everybody has fresh motors and is ready is ready for race weekend, so everybody got that installation check in to check for leaks and the install. Then 27 of them, I believe, ran at some reasonable speed in excess of 202 mph. I believe two or three of them - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice, I believe - got 10 or 11 laps in. A lot of guys ran in excess of 215, 216. To be honest with you, I don't think with the forecasted weather from Sunday to what we had today, I don't think there was a lot of planning for a lot of running anyway. We've g ot 30,000 miles of practice in this month. Even with the challenges we've had weather-wise, we're in excess of 30,000 practice miles. Most of that has been done in similar conditions to what we had today. The forecasted weather for Sunday; the last I've seen is as high as the low 80s. So I don't think guys were going to waste a lot of time because that's going to be a vastly different setup. They're going to rely more on their historical data and their knowledge. If the temperature here on Sunday at 1 o'clock is in the low 80s, this place is going to get hot and slick and they're going to need a lot of downforce, a lot more downforce than they would've needed to run in today's conditions."
(On Firestone Indy Lights teams): "No problems with the Lights cars. I think it's just disappointment of any race that gets rained out and postponed to the following day. We got 27 Lights teams that will be ready to go when we drop the green tomorrow at 12:15. With Jeff S! immons d oing the double; unfortunately Jeff's going to be running the race tomorrow afternoon and won't be able to participate in the parade, which is a disappointment. Other than that, I think the Lights teams will be ready to go."
(On the Rick Mears approach): "The one thing that I stressed in this morning's drivers meeting to them, with the forecast good and for 500 miles, they really need to focus and use the Rick Mears approach to the event. Considering we've got a third of the field who's never run this race before, the Rick Mears approach is use the first half to prepare for the second half of the race. So, use those first 250 miles to position yourself to improve the car each of the pit stops. Use the tools available to you to improve the car and get to a point where you're ready to go for the last 250 miles. After the last pit stop, get yourself ready for the sprint to the finish. It's the most challenging and difficult r acetrack in the world; and if you've never been here before, you really have to understand; Justin Wilson told me the other day, and I really appreciated his point of view: He said it is the only racetrack he's ever been to that demands the entire package. It demands driver focus. It's mental; it's physical; it's concentration. It demands downforce; it demands a balanced race car. It is the entire package every time you go out onto the racetrack."
(On fresh engines for the race): "That's everybody that's doing the full-month program. I think we only had three short programs the second week that joined. The majority of the field is all fresh and ready to go."
SATURDAY'S SCHEDULE (all times local):
8 a.m Public Gates Open
12:15 p.m. Firestone Freedom 100 (40 laps/100 miles)