Good morning from the Brickyard!
After a 4:15 AM wake-up and fighting traffic, I am here in the IMS Media Center ready for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. Surprisingly, the Media Center isn’t quite buzzing with action yet. After all, it is only 6:07 AM. At 5:20 this morning, fans were already spotted sans shirts, one girl was simply in her bikini, and most had a beer in hand. Needless to say, in the expected 95 degree temperature, they will have a very long day.
After 2 weeks of practice, competitors seem ready for the event, but questions still linger about the new cars. Below are some quotes from Carb Day:
Michel Jourdain Jr.: ”The car wasn’t as fast as we wanted. It’s frustrating because I am running flat-out behind guys, and they just pull away. The balance can be a little better, but we are lacking in speed because other just pull away. In practice we ran this wing, and I could stay with guys with less wing, but right now they just bull away. We will keep looking at the data to see what the problem is.”
Mike Conway: ”It didn’t feel quite as good as it did on Sunday, so we may go back on a couple of little changes. I feel pretty confident going into the race. We know what we’ve got, so we just need to repeat that, and we should move forward.”
Townsend Bell: ”I think it’s going to be good. We have a nice comfortable race car. I feel like I’m good in traffic. I’m maybe not as fast on my own as I’d like to be, but we can run all day comfortably.”
Ryan Briscoe: ”It was a good final practice for the IZOD car. We ran the entire session. We made a lot of changes and made good use of the time. This was a good session for us. We learned a bit, and this positions us nicely as we head into the race.”
Simona de Silvestro: ”The car feels pretty solid. The changes we made have been positive, and that’s a good thing. We’re still slow, but I’m happy with the car. It’s going to be a long race, but if we can keep up the momentum, I think we’ll be ok.”
Keep in mind, temperatures today will the much hotter than they have been at any point during the past 2 weeks of practice. With a buildup of rubber and record temperatures, the track will be very greasy and slick. The team that first gets a handle on the track will be in the best position to adjust through the race with minor changes rather than taking wild swings at the set-up.
I, with track scanner in hand, will be perched in the Southwest Vista in Turn 1. Keeping in mind battery life and lovely AT&T service, I will try to update on Twitter what I hear, or see from my spot.
Speaking of what to see, the best part of the weekend so far has been the people watching. If you enjoy people watching like I do, the Indy 500 has proven to be the Holy Grail so far. I’ve seen more stretch marks than a weigh in at a Richard Simmons work-out video. Spiderweb tattoos also seem to be very popular in these parts as well. Folks, please think twice before tattooing. The butterfly tramp stamp you had to have will soon look more like a buzzard during the waning years of your youth. Even when shirts are worn, they are…interesting. During the Indy Lights race a fine, middle-aged gentleman sported a “I enjoy vagina” tee written in the “Enjoy Coca-Cola” script. His mom is surely very proud. Oh, and I cannot forget “American Speedo Man”. Take a gander at this fine specimen of the American man. I’m speechless.
Nevertheless, sit back, grab a cold beverage, and watch the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. Don’t miss a lap. This is the place where legends are born, legacies are cemented, and dreams come true. 33 racers vie for glory in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. Who will win?