Archive for May, 2008

Practice Canceled

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

In the shocker of the century, practice was canceled today.

Wishy-Washy Day

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Looking at the weather radar, I wouldn’t hold my breath for on-track action today.  There is a pretty dense line of showers stretching beyond St. Louis, and it doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere in a hurry.  Radar imagery is provided by WeatherTap.

In the news, Sarah Fisher may or may not have lost her primary sponsor, ResQ, for the month.  The check, apparently, just never arrived.  No idea on how this may affect her later appearances at Kentucky and Chicagoland, but the word is that she is committed to the month.

Brian Barnhart said that no more rookies will be orientated.  This leaves CR Crews and Franck Perera in the cold.  Teams that are looking for another driver will need to look towards veterans. 

Never sleeping, Curt Cavin (or possibly Steve Ballard) reports that Larry Foyt won’t drive the second Foyt entry.  Similarly, it doesn’t look like anyone will.  Cavin, who gets credit because he was taking credit last night on his radio show, said it depends on who is on the bubble come a week from Sunday.     

The forecast update for the weekend will come at some point today.  I’m booked for the evening, so it’ll either be late afternoon or after I get home tonight.  My fast friday coverage will be sparse and/or late, as tomorrow is a travel day so that I can report for you LIVE from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday. 

The 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 – Qualifying Weekend 1 Forecast

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

OK, so I’m going to combine Saturday’s and Sunday’s forecasts into one post, since there’s no sense in doing two.  I’ll give forecasted numbers for both, though.  This forecast would qualify as the 3-Day forecast for Saturday and the 4-Day forecast for Sunday.  Your 0-Day Forecast on Saturday will come directly from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The forecast for saturday looks fairly consistent, as high pressure will build into the Indianapolis region for the day.  The model guidance looks pretty consistent with this feature, as the ridging in the height fields aloft associated with the high pressure are fairly nonvariant.  Quick science lesson:  Meteorologists tend to look at pressure as our vertical coordinate and the heights associated with that pressure as what defines the features.  Ridging is associated with high pressure and troughing is associated with low pressure systems.

Anyway, the good thing about high pressure is that it means nice weather for the day, typically.  The air mass in place is certainly of Canadian origin.  The temperature of that air mass is fairly variant on the two American models.  I tend to lean toward the warmer temperature, as the sun should be shining and it won’t take much to warm up the area. 

Sunday is a bit of a different story.  The timing of the system seems pretty set on the afternoon hours, but there is a level of variation to its placement.  The models have bullseyes of precipitation to the north and south of Indianapolis, but those bullseyes could easily shift in either direction.  Due to the variability, I’m keeping the percentage high, but it could shift in either direction. 

Thus, the official iiMy forecast!

  Saturday Sunday
Approx. Green Flag Time
12:00 EDT
12:00 EDT
Temperature
66ºF
55ºF
Dew Point
45ºF
50ºF
Relative Humidity
47%
83%
Winds
Northerly at 10 mph
Southeasterly at 10 mph
Chance of Rain
0%
60%
Will We Qualify?
Yes
Perhaps not, but too soon

to say definitively


Quick Wednesday Evening Update

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

In terms of the news, very little has come about this afternoon with practice being rained out. That said, coming up shortly on Trackside with Cavin and Kevin is the original ‘Stache himself, Bobby Rahal. That said, the streaming just cut out on me. We’ll see if it comes back.

The Des Moines Register says sales are down from last year for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. Last year’s race was plagued by parking and routing woes as well as the complete inability to pass on track. The series tested there in the fall to improve the package, and IndyCar Legend Rusty Wallace says the parking woes should be remedied.

Streaming is back and Cavin just said that it looks like Larry Curry will stay with Roth Racing. Cavin also says that John Andretti is a possible third entry with Roth. Going along with this, James at the Track reports that Andretti spent a lot of time in Roth’s garage today.

RaceFanRadio.com announced that Jeff Pigeon and Big John Gillis will be doing a show from 9-11 EDT Thursday through Saturday for the rest of the month.

Dave Lewandowski has an article up on Mario Dominguez over at IndyCar.com, and this guy gets it and is excited to be at Indy and in the unified series.

The Daily Trackside Report from today is up. It goes into Tony Stewart and Chevy announcing an engine for the USAC National Midget Car Series and has a bunch of quotes.

Now some pictures fro James as the Track:

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You cannot have May without some rain.

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John Andretti is really starting to look like an Andretti.

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This lady is smart not to look directly at the ’stache, as her head would explode.

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This guy, who I call That Guy, does have the power, however, to look directly at the stache.

Wednesday Tidbits and Weather

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

The odds of cars on the track today is probably dependent on how much of an effort the Speedway makes to dry the track. The initial line of stratiform rain is moving through the area and should be out shortly. Behind this line, though, it is currently fairly clear, but thunderstorms are looking to be popping up. The chance of these thunderstorms hitting the Speedway, though, is somewhat hit-and-miss. Thus, it depends on how quick they can dry the track, but a little bit of luck is needed too. Satellite imagery indicates that there is some clearing behind the current line of rain, which would aid in drying. Again, if the Speedway has decided not to put full effort in, then it’s probably a wash. There may be a little practice if they put the effort forth, though.

Update:  The effort was there, as they got close to getting cars on the track.  The luck, however, was not as rain moved in just as the track was essentially dried.  Practice has been called off for today.

Coming later this evening will be the first official qualifying weekend forecast.

In other news, Jim Pedley of the Kansas City Star has an article on 2002, Bruno Junqueira, and his stance on the Pole of Indianapolis that year. It’s a good article, and it makes you think of just how significant that year was for the current state of american open wheel racing. It doesn’t even go into the finish of that race, and neither will I.

Associated Press tidbits via USA Today go into Lyn St. James’ Project Podium, which is a fund-matching grant for young women who have generated sponsorship on their own. It also touches on AGR/Toronto and the Canadians extending a lead exemption for auto racing.

One notable thing about this year’s running is that there are very few TBA slots. The officially entered TBA slots still available are with Beck, Panther, Penske, and PDM. The PDM entry is expected to be nothing more than vapor. Panther has repeatedly said they don’t plan on entering the second entry. I’d be shocked if the Penske entry shows up as anything except a Walker Racing run, and Derrick Walker called his chances grim-though not completely dead.

Well, according to James at the Track, Jaques Lazier has been searching hard for a ride. He’s seen him talking to Conquest, Beck, and Foyt. Roger Yasukawa, who is probably considered the front-runner for the entry, has been spending a lot of time at the Beck garage. Jeff Simmons was talking to Conquest and said that he is looking for an opportunity to potentially jump into an existing entry next week that is having trouble getting up to speed. Finally, he says that John Andretti has also been seen searching for a ride. He also sent me some great pictures, and you’ll see some of them throughout the month.

The live streaming video shows trucks running the tracks, radar, and Jane’s Addiction in the background. GarageCam shows people walking without umbrellas. Just prior, they were showing a summary of the 2007 Indianapolis 500. I cannot express how fascinating I find the 2007 race.

Perhaps the most incredible part, to me at least, is how little respect, for lack of a better term, it gets. Perhaps there are many explanations or excuses for this. First, it was rain-shortened, and it has been said that Gordon Johncock was never really thought of as true 500 winner until his duel with Rick Mears in 1982. Second, it was a Dario victory. My general feeling on Dario is that he just never took off as a fan favorite, and I don’t necessarily have an explanation as to why that is. Was it his wife constantly being shoved down the viewers throats? It certainly couldn’t have been personality, as he had one of the great personalities in the series. Was he just not glitzy enough? I don’t know. That said, I hate that the won the 500 and the Series Championship and just bolted as he did. There’s the concept of passing the torch, and Dario took his torch and ran to NASCAR.

As for the race, though, 2007 was one of the most exciting races that has ever happened in my twenty years of attending the race. Since rain was the significant factor, every driver on the track was driving beyond their limits trying to get to the front. If that rain came a little earlier, we’d have Jaques Lazier, Indianapolis 500 champion. There was an insane amount of passing. It was an amazing race. OK, enough ranting.

Bobby and Graham Rahal had a press conference this morning. The transcript is available here. There are no mustache references.