Friday, May 16, 2008

Indy 500 Final Qualifications Next

What a difference a day makes. After a cold and dark Thursday practice session, the changeable Indiana weather delivered a masterpiece today as crystal clear blue skies and temperatures near 70 greeted everyone at IMS on Friday for the last full practice day before the final weekend of qualifying. The forecast for the weekend has improved as well.

Unfortunately, three drivers found the SAFER barriers today - two rookies (Power and Viso) and one surprising veteran: outside front row starter Ryan Briscoe. The only good things were that no one was hurt and Briscoe was in a backup car. The teams for Power and Viso are probably pulling all-nighters tonight though, and the newcomers are finding out how difficult Indy truly can be. I'm sure Roger Penske can't be too happy though...

Buddy Lazier (pictured) got on track for the first time for Ron Hemelgarn and Roger Yasukawa's money must have shown up since he was out in Greg Beck's 98 car. I saw Jay Howard in the garage area and he seemed in good spirits even though he's lost his seat for the month to John Andretti. Buddy Rice worked hard today, but no one moreso than Vitor Meira who ran at least a half race distance today. It was great seeing the packs of cars running together - all four Andretti Green teammates were out together on several occasions, trading places with each other drafting. Saturday should be really interesting and I hope the field gets filled tomorrow.

I was in Turn 3 again today since I got out around 2:30, but I did have time to run through the pits and garage area briefly. The lighting was superb in 3 this afternoon, and even though the wrecking was going on elsewhere and before I got there, I'm a happy camper so far this month! Back with more later. Until then, click on the following image to see a few other pix from today.

Indy 500 Practice May 16, 2008

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