Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indy 500 Practice Day 3: Marco Tops Speed Charts

Today was warmer and windier than either of the first two practice days so far this month, but it didn't slow the veterans down who were getting on the track for the first time. Marco Andretti led the way today and I got out to Turn 3 just as he was setting his fast laps for the day. The usual suspects filled the top 5 with Kanaan, Dixon, Briscoe and Wheldon following Marco's top lap of over 226 mph. Over 1383 laps were run today and time may get short for some teams as the weather forecast is typical for this time of year. It is still early spring in Indiana and warmer weather usually brings showers, which are predicted for parts of Wednesday and Thursday. So tomorrow we'll either be watching the weather radar or it could be an extremely busy day as all of the full month teams will want to get track time before "Fast Friday", the day before Pole Day. A handful of other teams will join the fray next week with their Honda mini-leases.

I got the chance to walk pit lane again today and never cease to be amazed by how workmanlike the teams are in the pits. The Firestone engineers are everywhere, dutifully taking tire temperatures as the drivers run a few laps and pull in. Helio looked happy. Townsend Bell looked bored. Alex Lloyd, yesterday's fastest driver, excitedly talked with his crew about what he was experiencing. Dixon looked serious. Buddy Rice was animated in the cockpit, talking with his hands. Milka Duno never raised her visor. EJ Viso caught a lift out of Gasoline Alley on the sidepod of his car. Even though I couldn't get to the track today until almost 3, the routine of visiting the pits and then going to the turns is working out well and so far has made this one of my more enjoyable Mays in years. I have more flexibility than ever before and feel like I can really cover what's going on, rather than being nailed to a spot in a corner waiting for someone to spin or hit the fence. So instead of 3 seconds of action, I'm seeing the whole track again. Next I'll try to hit Turn 2 since I've been told the fence has been moved for the Moto GP course and the shooting spots are better than in years' past.

Will it be tomorrow, Thursday or Friday? Guess I'll just have to check Intellicast in the morning to time my trip down I-65 from work to catch whatever action I can. And when I get a break, I'll come back and post more pix as my goal has been to get car and driver shots of every competitor, plus helmet and scenic shots of the Speedway. The variety I have been looking for is there this year, and today alone I shot almost 1.7 gig of pix in a little more than 3 hours. I shudder to think what it will be like when I get a whole day out there. That should come Friday, weather permitting. See you next time!

Indy 500 Practice 2008 - Day 3

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