Saturday, May 17, 2008

Indy 500 Qualifiers Fill the Field May 17th

On another beautiful spring day when qualified and non-qualified drivers alike tried to knock down the IMS walls, Saturday qualifying at Indy wrapped up with a full field and a woefully slow Marty Roth on the bubble. Hideki Mutoh (shown) slid way high in Turn 2 and bounced off the fence during afternoon practice, but four drivers in all wrecked today. Mario Dominguez spun entering Turn 1 and crashed in the morning practice and Max Papis pounded the Turn 3 barrier as the checkers fell on the session. Around 4:15, not long after Mutoh's incident, Phil Giebler punched a hole in the Turn 1 SAFER barrier in the last (and loudest) crash of the day. I was in Turn 2 when it happened and my first reaction was "BIG HIT" it was so loud. But the wind was wicked from the west all afternoon and many drivers struggled.

Most notable among those struggling was AJ Foyt IV who got sideways in 2 on an early qualifying attempt and never took the green flag on a second attempt at around 5:45 p.m. So he's on the outside looking in with more teams pulling all-nighters tonight fixing damaged cars and a promising bump day ahead tomorrow if the weather holds out. Conditions are likely to be different again tomorrow with scattered showers predicted and wind from the north-northwest, so it will probably be chilly. Today's lessons are probably lost on those yet to qualify but the teams at the front will be running lots of race setup laps just like today. I feel like I covered 5 miles at the track on foot today so I've got to sign off with another big day ahead tomorrow. I shot my first two crashes of the month today and filled two 1-gig memory cards with over 500 images so I had a great day. My 73 year old mother went out with me today too, and we had a blast. You don't see too many gray haired "old ladies" at the Speedway but she got her autographs and enjoyed all the action on pit road while I was roaming from the pits to Turn 1, to the F1 garage roof, to the Penthouse to the outside and inside of Turn 2, and then finally back to the pits. I'm getting tired just writing about it! More later folks so y'all come back now, ya hear?

For some of today's pix, click on the following image. To see all my galleries from the month of May so far, then follow this link:

Indy 500 Qualifying May 17, 2008

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