Monday, May 25, 2009

Helio Wears Glass Slipper For Third Time at Indy 500

Indianapolis now has it's latest three time winner in the 500 and although Helio Castroneves was certainly no Cinderella, his win capped a storybook month of May that many are suggesting is the stuff of movies and fairy tale happy endings. It was a wild day at Indy with multiple crashes due to drivers drifting up into the marbles and into the fence. Others like Moraes and Marco got tangled up and the worst was saved for last as Matos turned down on Meira entering Turn One which created a massive wreck for them. Poor Vitor had already survived a scary looking pit fire and now may be laid up for awhile with broken vertebrate. All that aside, Helio was his usual self, climbing the front stretch fencing with his crew and sobbing in Victory Lane with a release of emotions that must have felt like being reborn after passing Dixon on a restart and checking out the rest of the way. Now I know you can read all the details of the race in plenty of other places, and you may already have done that. For this Hoosier, the conclusion of the race wrapped up one of the best months of May I have ever had at the Speedway and I am going to write about the things I saw and felt in terms of those who may be happy or sad relative to the outcome of the 500 this year. There are plenty of stories to tell and these are just a few from my perspective.


Helio of course. And my predicted winner, Dan Wheldon who with Panther Racing showed the mettle to return to their championship form of the Hornish days with a stout second place finish.

Alex Tagliani. Tags did an awesome job with Conquest and should easily win 500 Rookie of the Year as virtually all of the other newcomers found concrete or the SAFER barrier during the race.

Sarah Fisher and John Andretti. For Sarah, she stayed out of harm's way, finished 500 miles for the first time and her team (and equipment) is intact to take to Texas. For John, his qualifying performance was amazing and he handled race traffic well to finish, and while he was never really in contention for a Top 10 position, one-off entries at Indy usually don't fare as well as he did.

The IRL. With the Sprint Cup race postponed to today, the ratings for the ABC telecast should have gotten a boost which can only help Indycars.

Ed Carpenter and Alex Pink Lloyd. Both men's wives are due to give birth at any time and there were no deliveries at the Speedway! Ed looked strong and Pink had the hottest looking car and ran well despite losing a lap early and running in the pack most of the day.

Paul Tracy. Despite all the hoo-ha about 2002 leading up to this year's 500, PT handled himself gracefully and with humor all month. With all due respect to the three women in the race, he was the only one I saw all race day who seemed to have the cajones to try high-side passes in Turn 1. He provided some great wheel to wheel shots from my vantage point. Having the Geico cave man in a driver suit with him in the 500 Festival Parade on Saturday was a hoot!

KV Racing. Bell was spectacular all day and KV has made up ground on the IRL regulars and is clearly the cream of the crop (along with Newman Haas Lanigan of course) of the former Champ Car teams. I'm glad they are in the series and seeing Jimmy Vasser on pit road talking with Tagliani before qualifying was one of the highlights of my month as it showed that racers are racers willing to help another struggling driver out, even if it was a competitor.

The Speedway. Although there were some empty seats in the stands, it looked to me like loads more people than past years opted for the cheaper infield tickets as the mounds were jammed and the weather was Tony Hulman perfect.


Larry Rice. May you rest in peace. Racing has lost another icon for fans of the 500 and USAC racing, and this former Indy Rookie of the Year will be missed.

Vitor. When does he catch a break anyway? One of the most likable guys in the IRL should not have to endure sheet time right now. Now will AJ have to put someone else in the car for Texas? Could this be another fill-in job for Will Power?

Moraes and Marco. The fastest rookie in qualifying, Moraes never got a chance to show his stuff race day. Marco had no business going high side on the first lap with a rookie under him, so it was another typical Andretti move - overly aggressive and ill advised - which took them both out.

Tony Kanaan. This year, his car failed him and he pounded the wall in Turn 3. Two years running now, Turn 3 has been his nemesis and neither time was his fault, and it broke a long string of 500's where he had led laps. He was the only AGR driver who seemed to have anything for Dixon and Franchitti early on.

Rahal. Two years in a row now, he finds the fence in Turn 4 running up in the marbles. This time he was trying to get by Duno, and he should know better by now.

Will Power. The Australian with the piercing eyes had a shot to win but now looks like he could be on the sidelines for the rest of the season. C'mon Roger! Keep him in the seat.

Hunter-Reay. After barely getting in the show, the lack of race preparations clearly hurt him as he ran high all race and it finally bit him in Turn 4.

Traffic. The early morning traffic was a godawful mess and we were lucky to get in the track through the credential gate before the track opened to the public. Sitting on Georgetown Road at 25th Street with other media people, IRL officials and yellow shirts behind people who just wanted to get in the infield was a new experience. I got lucky. Lots of others did not.

There are 364 days to the Indy 500...

Go to American Motor Journal and subscribe! More of my May pix will be posted there and on my Picasa page once the next edition comes out as I have features in mind to share, and shots a few thousand images this May of everything from the initial balloon races, the Mini Marathon, to crowds and scenes, and off course race cars. I'll be back soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indy 500 Winner Prediction - Out on a Limb or Completely Nuts?

We went to the 500 Festival Parade today and I broke out my National Guard cap for the 4 car of Danny Wheldon. That's my darkhorse favorite to win the 500 tomorrow, not just because he was 4th quick in Carb Day yesterday, but because the Panther Team has been around awhile and could never quite get to P1 at Indy, even when Sam Hornish, Jr. was winning lots of races and championships. It would be awesome to see someone else besides Penske and Target or AGR at the top of the standings for once, and it is clear to me that they have something good going with Panther this season. Wheldon knows how to win this race, I am sure he's burning to beat Ganassi's tandem of Dario and Dixon, especially after the way Chip handled Danny's departure in 2008.

Besides that, at the Parade today, as Danny went by in the pace car, I got his attention and held up and pointed to the Panther National Guard hat I had and hollered "you're the man!" We made eye contact and with those new pearly whites he got recently, you could see he was enjoying someone rooting for him. I also said they needed to get the camouflage hats out! I want one of those!

And while Helio has won everything in site this month at the Speedway - pole position, fastest carb day lap and the pit stop competition, not to mention all his other tax issues have now been resolved - he's almost too much of a favorite. Will Power has more to lose than Helio and even Briscoe has a score to settle at Indy after last year's pit lane run-in with Danica.

I know someone who is going to Vegas this weekend and I asked them to put $20 on Wheldon for me, so there you have it folks. We'll see how prescient I am tomorrow at about this time.

Probably about like usual - not very...but who cares anyway. It's just one Hoosier's opinion.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Indy Carb Day Safe for IRL - Wild for Indy Lights

Final practice for Sunday's Indy 500 went off like clockwork for the IRL teams, but the Indy Lights Firestone Freedom 100 race was another story entirely. Two early crashes brought out yellows, including Anna Beatriz vicious smack of the inside guardrail between Turns 1 and 2 that had debris strewn all through the short chute and left her being wheeled off on a gurney (shown). Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver, pole winner and new Indy Lights track record holder Wade Cunningham took the win after a spirited battle among the top 5 where the lead changed hands multiple times over the last half of the 100 mile event. Most impressive was rookie Mario Romancini who charged from 18th to 3rd, valiantly trying high side passes on numerous occasions and battling wheel to wheel with everyone in his path. J. R. Hildebrand looked to have race winning speed until the end although he couldn't keep Cunningham behind him after a final restart with less than 10 laps to go. Cunningham became the first two-time winner of the event in the process.

In the final Indycar practice session for the 500, The Penske boys showed the way with Helio topping the charts and erstwhile replacement Will Power second. Mario Moraes continued to impress with third quick time while camo-boy Dan Wheldon slotted into 4th ahead of Ryan Briscoe. The Target Ganassi twosome were next with Dario edging out Dixon. The top 16 all ran race pace laps above 220 and the quickest Andretti green driver was Tony Kanaan in 11th, which doesn't bode well for Sunday. The scariest driver on the track today was rookie Nelson Philippe who learned quickly that qualifying all by yourself at Indy is a helluva lot differenet than running in the draft with cars all around. Sunday should be very interesting and I will be back soon with my race day predictions and more pix from today's Carb Day activities.

Turn 1 was again the place to be and I am really looking forward to Sunday. In roughly 72 hours someone will have milked poured over their head and we will all be looking ahead to the next 500. Or in my case, Texas!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tagliani Back in the 500 - 5 Days to Race Day

After the devastating disappointment of Bump Day for Alex Tagliani, the insurance plan involving Bruno Junqueira paid off for the primary driver of Conquest Racing and "Tags" is back in the show. He will start last in the 36 car that Bruno qualified easily and although Conquest may not have played the qualifying line strategy correctly, they got this part right, as they need Tags in the car to help their sponsors - especially the Edmonton Indycar race.

This photo was taken the day before Alex qualified and I could tell he was really struggling. I have other shots where he is gesturing madly about some kind of bouncing going on in the car, and I thought I heard him talking about the engine not pulling at top rpm's. So to say he was a happy camper Sunday night when the announcement was made for Bruno to give up the seat would be the understatement of the month of May. Just another example of how unpredictable competing at Indianapolis can be and I'm sure the Conquest team would handle Bump Day differently if they find themselves in the same situation again someday. When team owner Eric Bachelart ran the 500, the process was completely different and this time around it bit them, but their backup plan worked out just fine for Tags. I hope Bruno was well compensated for his stellar work in a minimum number of laps. His comments afterward were truly professional, although I'm sure he was disappointed too, as I saw him hanging around Dale Coyne most of the month only to be pre-empted by Tomas Scheckter the last Friday of practice. The fact that he was able to slot into the second Conquest car the next day, and then do an awesome job the next day in final qualifying speaks volumes for his talent. He belongs in an Indycar.

I've updated my Picasa page with shots of all 33 drivers and their cars in two different albums, and now that the American Motor Journal issue is out, I'll be adding still more photos leading up to the race. I've got some really nice shots of Conway's and Tags' crashes from last Sunday and I'll get those up soon enough. I'll have others ready for the American Motor Journal website as well so drop me a line if you see anything you like.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Indy 500 Bump Day: Madness To The End

It was a bitter end for former 500 winner Buddy Lazier, who was stuck in the 218 range all weekend and could never get a sniff of the proper speed to make the race. The worst was saved for Alex Tagliani, however, as he was bumped out after the 6 o'clock gun by .04 seconds in a true banzai run by Ryan Hunter Reay, who eked out the narrowest of margins after struggling mightily to find speed since the track opened.

John Andretti was probably the happiest driver at IMS today as he found over a mile an hour more than he needed with just 15 minutes left in Bump Day, after spending the whole day like a yo yo, in and out of the field as driver after driver pulled qualified cars to improve their times, putting John back in the field, then out, then in. It seemed like it happened at least six times today! And they must have worked their tails off all day, going in and out of the garage area and back out to try something new, until they found that Indy magic in the waning minutes of the day. Not only that, he did it on his third and final attempt, running a conservative line, whereas others were using lots of racetrack and still couldn't find the speed the 43 car finally did. It was great to see, and I'm especially happy for John to be back at Indy where he belongs - and with the King Richard Petty along for the ride as car owner no less.

And good thing Conquest Racing hired Bruno Junqueira! He qualified easily at over 221 with only 15 laps in the team car to Tagliani. Very impressive. Equally impressive were Nelson Phillipe and Milka Duno as they made me eat my words, running faster than they had all month as the track was roughly 2 mph faster today in sunny but cool conditions. Well done by those two, and Milka was jumping around like a teenage cheerleader after her qualifying run early in the afternoon.

Tomas Scheckter went out late for an insurance run to improve his position and also went nearly two mph faster than he had on Saturday. Lots of rubber must have been laid down today, as numerous teams put their race setups on and ran a ton of laps throughout the day, as qualifying attempts were made, qualified cars were pulled and requalified, and then the scenario would repeat itself too many times to count. At one point I couldn't have told you who was on the bubble and who was still in the race.

So now the field is truly set, and the slowest speed of a tad over 220.5 is only about 4 mph slower than the pole speed, so the 500 should be highly competitive with the teams apparently so equal. That sounds right but when you see the top teams running race setup laps between 219 and 223 in packs, you just know that the top half of the grid will likely run circles around the tailenders by the middle of the race. Handling traffic and staying out of other people's troubles will be key to winning, just like always, as now the Speedway goes silent for the Indycars until Carb Day later this week. The Indy Lights teams will practice and qualify for Friday's Freedom 100 Thursday but the big cars won't be seen again until Friday.

Then comes race day, just seven days from now. Get out and get a ticket. I'll be in Turn 1! See you there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Indy 500 Field is Full - Bump Day Awaits

Tomas Scheckter made an impressive debut with Dale Coyne's "little team that could" with a minimum of laps and helped fill the field today at Indy. After rain delayed practice, EJ Viso sat ready to qualify and rains came again, but Tony Hulman weather prevailed at Indianapolis once again as the skies cleared with plenty of time for Day 3 to be completed. Bob Doorknobs led the qualifiers today and completed a sound comeback from two wallbangers during the first week of practice. Lots of people had trouble with the wind today as the conditions changed multiple times throughout the day.

And there was even a bump, as Buddy Lazier took a run a hair over 216 and is now on the outside looking in. Bruno Junqueira got the second Conquest Racing car today but the team wasn't ready to run him - they had to make sure that Tagliani got in, which he did in impressive style. Milka Duno is the other driver on the outside so who knows what else might happen overnight tonight? It wouldn't be the first time someone came out of nowhere on Bump Day to make the 500. Remember AJ's call to Giaffone at the mall a few years ago? It could happen tomorrow as Alex Barron is hanging around the garage area and I've seen Jacques Lazier around too. Plus Marty Roth has two cars sitting in his garage just looking for a buyer.

After the weather broke, there was a flurry of activity as eight drivers qualified in rapid succession. That left plenty of time for the Penske and Ganassi teams to run in formation in race trim before the final qualifying efforts started around 5:40 p.m. Stanton Barrett got out just before the 6:00 p.m. closing and almost knocked Nelson Phillipe out in an impressively smooth run; a slow final lap did him in.

Now everyone left has three more attempts tomorrow and the weather is supposed to be very nice so there should be a lot of track activity with Carb Day next Friday the only other opportunity for teams to prep for the race. But for the remaining drivers, getting in the race will be their sole focus tomorrow. Buddy Lazier is going for his 17th Indy 500 start and he has been known to pull a rabbit out of the hat more than once to get in the show. It should be fun!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Indy 500 Practice Resumes - 2nd Week Teams Hit Track

The second (and abbreviated) week of Indy 500 practice opened today under blue skies with new teams and drivers hitting the track for the first time. Oriol Servia debuted for the Rahal Letterman team in their first time on any Indycar track this season and they were up to speed very quickly. Davey Hamilton was out in two cars today - his own and teammate Mike Conway's since he still hasn't been cleared to drive yet after sustaining a concussion and bruised lungs in his wicked practice crash this past Sunday morning. Buddy Lazier and the venerable Hemelgarn team were also out in the familiar purple 91 car. I couldn't get out today until late in the afternoon but the track was very busy with lots of the qualified teams running race setups in traffic to get ready for the 500.

Weather could again be a factor this weekend as the forecast is iffy until Bump Day on Sunday so it should be a very interesting weekend. Hunter Reay continues to struggle to find speed in the third Vision car and Milka is one of the slowest of the who have attempted to qualify so far. Nelson Philippe was back out today after his first week accident as was Robert Doornbos (who everyone is calling Doorknobs) who pounded the south end walls twice last week.

The upcoming issue of American Motor Journal will have more of my pix from the runup to qualifying but for now here's a sampling of driver shots I've gathered so far. I hope to get out again tomorrow afternoon for awhile as there are a few other drivers I need photos of. It looks like there may only be 2 or 3 serious candidates for bumping this weekend, and my guess is that Milka will be one of those who has to watch the race on ABC instead of participating. See you soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indy Qualifying Drama Continues - 22 Spots filled

The luckiest guy in Indianapolis today is Scott Sharp, who sweated out another crazy day of qualifying to beat the 6:00 o'clock gun and bump his way back into the 500 field on his third and final attempt on the day. The unlucky guys today were Mike Conway and Alex Tagliani, who crashed in the first few minutes after the track opened for morning practice at 10:15. John Andretti also found the wall late in the day and some might argue that Graham Rahal was the luckiest today, as he had to lock 'em down and spin to avoid collecting Andretti's wadded up car as it careened off the wall through the south short chute. With two crashes on the weekend for the team courtesy of his teammate Doornbos, Rahal saved his impressive 4th place starting position and avoided a week's worth of repairs for the team. Next weekend the field gets filled and it is likely to be another exciting pair of qualifying days like this weekend.

This weekend will be hard to top though as today's weather was as different as could be compared to yesterday. Bright blue skies and sunshine greeted the teams this morning and my guess is that Conway and Tags weren't ready for the changed conditions, with the wind blowing from a completely different direction and the track temperature up at least 20 degrees from Saturday. The crowd sure seemed to enjoy the 11-11-11 bumping format as many stayed until the very end in the pit terrace stands on the front stretch.

I had a great photo weekend and shot four crashes/spins in three days, plus got headshots of every driver out there so far. The best has already been sent in to American Motor Journal and I will be posting shots of the qualified drivers and cars on their website in the next day or so. The last few days seemed to have gone by awfully quickly so I'm looking forward to next weekend and then the real countdown can begin: the 500 is now 14 days away and this time next Sunday the field will be full and we will be down to seven days.

Buy a ticket and come to Indy folks. You won't regret it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Helio Takes Indy Pole - Penskes Start One-Two

On a day that started blustery and overcast, the sun broke through the clouds like Helio's smile late in the afternoon on a frantic Pole Day at Indianapolis where the inter-team rivalries were allowed to play out and numerous drivers made mad dashes to nail down one of the day's 11 open spots in the Indy 500. It was really a spectacular show and I hope the Versus TV coverage did it justice, as once the scene of Nelson Phillipe's crash around 4:30 was cleaned up, the action was hot and heavy right up until the 6 o'clock gun as Justin Wilson took the track seconds before the track would officially close for the day only to fall just short of stealing the 11th position on the day. The biggest surprise of the day was Alex Lloyd who snuck into the last open spot for the day in the last hour as the track got a little temperature and the winds died down. Well done Sam Schmidt Motorsports!

It was crazy at times, as teams withdrew qualified cars to go for pole or improve their positions. The most disappointed was probably Scott Dixon who dropped like a rock in his last attempt and ended up worse off than before. His Target teammate Dario upstaged last year's Pole and 500 winner to uphold Ganassi honor on the outside of the front row. But Helio was not to be denied as suddenly around 3:30, he ran a 225.8 (faster than any other lap he'd run all week) and everyone knew we had a battle for the pole brewing. Unfortunately for Helio's teammate Ryan Briscoe, that push put Ryan squarely in Helio's crosshairs and there was no stopping Helio, although Ryan did come back and squeeze into P2 between Helio and Dario for the race.

Worst off for the day was Robert Doornbos who hit the wall again, this time spinning into the fence in Turn 2 after what was probably a heavy wind gust caught him out in the cold morning practice. Tony Kanaan probably worked the hardest, wheeling a frankenstein car comprised of pieces from Mutoh's backup and his own car, getting disqualified for being underweight and then coming back to qualify strong late in the afternoon. Marco and Danica ran well for AGR but they just didn't have the outright speed and it was clear that neither one was happy. And poor Mutoh may have been bumped a couple of times, but things were happening so fast, it was hard to keep up. Paul Tracy looked pretty good and made a nice return to Indy to qualify but also got bumped in the late frenzy.

Tomorrow they set the next 11 spots in the field so hopefully that will generate some excitement as well. I had a great day and shot nearly 700 pix on the day, so I had a blast and get the chance to do it all over again tomorrow. See you there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Penskes Top Speed Chart at Indy on Fast Friday

On a day when weather was again threatening, the Penske duo of Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves led the timing and scoring in preparations for tomorrow's Pole Day competition. As I write this from the IMS media center at about 5:30 p.m., Happy Hour is winding down and it doesn't look to me like anyone will be able to challenge the 225+ mph hot laps these guys laid down earlier this afternoon.
A brief sprinkle around 4 stopped the on track action for awhile but the weather pattern that look so ominous on the radar skirted to the south of the track, so we had another day of "Tony Hulman" weather today and the teams needed it since Wednesday was washed out. Pole Day is shaping up as a Penske-Ganassi battle as Dario and Dixon were both in the high 224's today.

I spent most of the day in Turn 1 today and had a busy afternoon as AJ Foyt IV pancaked the wall around 1, then not much later, yesterday's fastest rookie Robert Doornbos bounced of the wall and ended up slamming the wall at the entrance to Turn 2. Then Scott Sharp took a wild ride spinning past me in the south short chute (I thought he had it saved a couple of times) before hitting over in 2 beyond my view. I got pix of all three and thankfully all the drivers are OK, but Sharp's Indy 500 could be in jeopardy as he mangled the car pretty good and has ALMS commitments for Acura that could create a qualifying conflict for him if he can't get in the top 22 here this weekend. Foyt was back on track a couple of hours later and Doornbos will be back, but probably in a backup car, so it was a day to be on my toes and paying attention. Good thing I've been hanging around here awhile!

For more, got to the American Motor Journal website later this weekend. Bye 4 now!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Marco Quickest at Indy on Vets' First Day

Grandpa Mario must have been proud today as Marco showed everyone else the way at Indy this afternoon on a very busy day at IMS. Word was he had a tow however, while Helio did not and set second quick time, with both over 225. After Wednesday's complete washout, teams were anxious to hit the bricks today and ran 2,199 laps between 10:30 a.m. and the final gun at 6:00 p.m.

The day started off foggy and overcast but turned warm and beautiful by mid afternoon, but not too hot for the fast guys to do what they do at the Speedway: go fast and turn left. Ryan Hunter-Reay in one of Tony George's Vision Racing cars was involved in the only incident on the day coming off of Turn 2 but the car didn't look too badly damaged when we saw it on the hook in the garage area. We spent most of the day on the front side searching for driver shots and interesting people. We found a bunch, and had a wonderful day at the track, especially with the fickle May weather cooperating as it did. Tomorrow would be equally busy if the weather is the same as 32 cars with 31 driver combinations hit the track today with rookie Mike Conway running the most laps.

If today's results are a preview for pole day, it looks like it will go about like I predicted with the Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti Green teams leading the way, with Newman Haas Lanigan and Panther sneaking a peak at the top 11. And there was Paul Tracy in 12th, seven years since running Indy last, and as racy as ever. It was great to see him out there and I hope he gets a chance at redemption May 24th. He deserves to be in IndyCars in my opinion and he will certainly help sell tickets at the IRL's Canadian races later this summer. Maybe he'll even get in a scuffle or two to liven things up a tad off the track.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. See you out there!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

If It's May, This Must Be Indianapolis

Now that May has finally arrived, we know what that means: the Indy 500. The practice schedule is reduced this year for economic reasons so the cars don't take the track until Tuesday for the Rookie Orientation Program and veterans taking refreshers. In honor of the 100 year anniversary since the track first opened with balloon races in 1909, the Speedway held a Founders Race yesterday that lifted off about the same time as the 500 Festival Mini Marathon. I got out to the track in time to see the flyers make preparations and despite the cool and overcast conditions, the light breeze was perfect for the racers to drift gently over the Pagoda and then on past downtown over the Mini Marathon course. It was neat seeing the balloons and I spent the early morning at the Speedway watching the runners stream through. 35,000 people on foot taking a lap of the Brickyard was pretty amazing, especially the fire department and SWAT team guys doing the race in full gear. Thankfully the weather cooperated or they would have been cooking in those suits!

With the "pre-season" now over, the clear favorite in my view has to be Target Chip Ganassi. Scottie D wont he only oval race so far this year at Kansas last week and Dario has a win on a street course. They will be tough to beat, especially since they are in essence both defending Indy 500 winners - Dixon for 2008 and Dario for 2007 as he was running taxicabs last year and missed Indy. With Tony Kanann leading the season points on consistent finishes, he will lead the AGR bunch to try and get his first win at the Speedway. And don't count out the Penske brigade now that Helio is back to join the only other race winner this season, Ryan Briscoe, and his "replacement" during the tax debacle, Will Power.

My prediction for the first 11 spots on Pole Day is the drivers from these teams will likely be the show: Target Ganassi, Penske, Andretti Green, and either Panther or Newman Haas Lanigan, especially since young Rahal has looked so quick already this year regardless of the type of circuit. It should be a busy three days of practice beginning Wednesday, although the weather forecast is not promising. But then what's Indy in May without a little rain? I hope to get out for Happy Hour Wednesday, and all afternoon Thursday and Friday. My plan is to blog each day and add pix to my picasa page so keep coming back!