Rain Puts Damper on Indy 500 Preparations

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 17 2016
Rain halted on-track action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Rain halted on-track action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Persistent rain on Tuesday forced Verizon IndyCar Series teams to adjust their preparations for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil following cancellation of practice.

bugindynotesThe official call to end the day came at 2:45 p.m. (ET), with no laps turned and the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval wet from lingering light rain. It was the first Indianapolis 500 practice day to be completely washed-out since May 18, 2011.

Three full days of practice remain before qualifying to set the 33-car field this weekend. Practice is scheduled from noon-6 p.m. (ET ) on Wednesday, Thursday and “Fast Friday.”

Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion, said many teams will feel compelled to squeeze more track activity into each of the remaining days because significant time has been lost.

“For sure, you’ll see that tomorrow,” said Kanaan, driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. “People will be out there a lot more. You saw all 33 cars on the track (Monday), which was remarkably surprising, to be honest. I think it will speed up things.

“You don’t want to sit at a racetrack and not get to run. But in the next four days combined we’ll have more practice than we do at all the other races. It’s one less day but it (saves) tires, so we can do more work tomorrow as long as the weather is better for the next few days _ and it looks like it is. It’s just boring to sit and look at the track and not do anything.”

Larry Foyt, team president at A.J. Foyt Racing, termed the washout as “a bummer.” But Foyt, son of the first four-time Indy 500 champion, said the team fielding Honda-powered cars for Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth and Alex Tagliani will adjust.

“We’re in a situation where we’re trying to mileage-out an engine (on one car) and get that out of the way, but you’re kind of used to (rain) here,” Foyt said. “It’s not too bad because it’s early-on (in the week). You can massage on everything and make sure everything is perfect before you get into your programs. We all want track-time, but you can’t do anything about the weather.”

Practice sessions will be steamed live at RaceControl.IndyCar.com. Qualifying will air Saturday on ESPN3 (11 a.m.-3 p.m. ET) and ABC (4-6 p.m. ET) and Sunday on ESPN3 (2-4 p.m. ET) and ABC (4-6 p.m. ET). Race day coverage will begin at 11 a.m. (ET) May 29 on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

The Borg-Warner Trophy will make an epic “March to the Yard of Bricks” before the 100th Running of the Indy 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Starting in the early morning, the iconic trophy will travel from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum to the world-famous Yard of Bricks on a Chevrolet Camaro SS flanked by members of the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers. 

“The Borg-Warner Trophy has taken an impressive journey during our 100-Day Countdown,” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “From the New York Stock Exchange to Capitol Hill to Wrigley Field, Verizon IndyCar Series drivers and IMS officials have been able to share this iconic piece of history with fans nationwide. This Race Day is a fitting return to its home on the bricks and will bring the trophy even closer to fans as we celebrate the 100th Running.”

The Borg-Warner Trophy features the sterling silver image of every Indianapolis 500 winner dating to Ray Harroun in 1911. Made of 110 pounds of sterling silver and standing 5 feet, 4-3/4 inches tall, the trophy originally cost $10,000 but currently is valued at $3.5-million. The trophy stays on permanent display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

To give the race-winner and team owners a personal keepsake of their victory, BorgWarner established the BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy™ (also known as the “Baby Borg”) in 1988, and the BorgWarner Team Owner’s Trophy™ in 1998. Both are sterling silver replicas of the Borg-Warner Trophy.

The trophy will exit the basement doors of the museum at 8 a.m. and begin its march through the facility to the IMS main straightaway. Fans are invited to get to IMS early on Race Day to see the historic moment. Other great photo moments along the path include Legends Row and the Fan Midway. The Purdue Marching Band will escort the trophy as it enters the track between Turns 3 and 4 and moves toward its final stop. The trip will end at the Yard of Bricks with Boles and BorgWarner Inc. President and CEO James Verrier on hand. 

“Drivers dream about earning their place in history and getting their likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy,” Verrier said. “Winning the 100th Running is something that will add to the excitement and I can’t wait to see whose face it will be when I present the Borg-Warner Trophy in Victory Lane.”

The Borg-Warner Trophy’s complete route with approximate time arrivals will be released as Race Day approaches. 

INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen tickets and camping sites are set to go on sale to the general public beginning  Wednesday, less than a week after Verizon IndyCar Series officials announced the open-wheel teams would return to Watkins Glen International over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4.

Beginning at 9 a.m. (EDT), fans will be able to purchase general admission tickets and camping spots for the series’ first visit to New York State’s Finger Lakes Region and The Glen’s 3.45-mile natural-terrain  road-course since July 4, 2010.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.theglen.com, by calling 866-461-RACE (7223) or by visiting the Watkins Glen International Ticket Office at 2790 County Route 16, Watkins Glen, N.Y., 14891.

WGI replaces a race originally scheduled through the streets of downtown Boston.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 17 2016
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