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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rain hits Indianapolis again

Friday, May 23, 2008

(Photo)
Darren Manning (center)?listens to AJ?Foyt (right)?and Larry Foyt while waiting out the rain during Carburetion Day.
By STEVE HERMAN

AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- The final practice for the Indianapolis 500 was a lot like the rest of the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: cold, wet and short.

What was supposed to be an hour of final tuneups before Sunday's race was stopped by rain Friday after only 12 minutes, and the annual pit stop competition among top contenders' crews was canceled altogether.

Former winner Buddy Rice had the most laps of any driver, managing 11 trips around the 2.5-mile oval, while Ganassi Racing teammates Dan Wheldon and pole-starter Scott Dixon had six laps each and turned in the top speeds at 223.934 and 223.028 mph, respectively.

Bruno Junqueira and Tomas Scheckter completed just one lap, while Ryan Briscoe was the only one of the 33 starters who did not get a single lap before the rain hit.

Still, the limited practice went well, Rice said.

"I was able to get our car up to speed quickly," the 2004 winner said. "The track was very green, no rubber on it from the rain. The downforce was heavy due to the cooler conditions."

Rice's top lap was at 221.207 mph.

The latest weather forecast for Sunday called for zero percent chance of rain and a high temperature of 76 degrees.

"That might make it very difficult on the teams and drivers to get the right setup," Rice said. "Luckily, we have an experienced engineering staff, and we'll prepare for that kind of day. Right now, I'm very pleased with our car."


FREEDOM 100 POSTPONED:

The Freedom 100 in the developmental Indy Lights Series was postponed Friday by rain.

The 40-lap race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway instead will be run Saturday afternoon after the Indy 500 drivers meeting.

"Obviously, this is not where we want to be today," Speedway president Joie Chitwood said. "We did everything we could to get the track to come around, and it was starting to dry when the rain hit again."

Rookie Dillon Battistini will start the Freedom 100 from the pole. The 26 other Indy Lights drivers include Jeff Simmons, who is also racing in Sunday's 500.


HONDA RE-SIGNS:

Honda will continue supplying race engines to the IndyCar Series through the 2013 season.

The Indy Racing League announced a five-year contract extension with the engine manufacturer Friday.

"It brings stability and continuity to a very competitive racing package," IRL president Brian Barnhart said.

Honda joined the series in 2003 and has been its sole engine supplier since 2006. For the past two years, no car dropped out of the Indy 500 due to an engine problem.


ELDORA INVITATION:

Tony Stewart is offering Sunday's Indy winner a car to drive in the June 4 dirt race at his half-mile Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

Part of the proceeds from the annual late model stock car race will go to the Tony Stewart Foundation.

"We'll have a car waiting for him or her, and we'd love to have whoever puts their name on the Borg-Warner Trophy at Indianapolis come about two hours east," said Stewart, who owns the Eldora track.

Stewart drove in the 500 five times, including a start from the pole as a rookie in 1996, before leaving for NASCAR.

He and other NASCAR drivers including Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick are scheduled to drive in the charity race at Eldora, which comes between the next two IndyCar races, June 1 at Milwaukee and June 7 at Texas.


CHANGE OF PLANS:

Olympic skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will replace boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. as honorary starter Sunday and will become the first woman to wave the green flag to start the Indy 500.

Mayweather bowed out because of the death of his uncle.

Other celebrities expected to attend the race include football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, basketball's Baron Davis, motorcyclist Nicky Hayden and skier Bode Miller.


OWNERS' DELIGHT:

Two of the race teams in the Indy Lights Series are owned by former Indy 500 drivers.

Three-time Indy starter Jim Guthrie owns Guthrie Racing, including cars for his son, Sean Guthrie, and drivers Logan Gomez, Micky Gilbert and Tom Wieringa.

Tyce Carlson, who started the 500 twice, is co-owner of Alliance Motorsports, which fields the car driven by Chris Festa.

"I love it," Carlson said of his return to Indianapolis as a team owner. "It gets me back to the track where I think I belong, and it keeps me out of the race car, where my wife thinks I don't belong."

He said he eventually would like to move up to the IndyCar Series.

"That's what's in our business plan," Carlson said. "My goal and dream is to win the 500. If I can't do it as a driver, I still want to do it as an owner."


LUG NUTS:

Sarah Fisher, whose two expected sponsorships fell through, landed a late deal and much-needed money from Text4cars.com, an Internet site that helps sellers advertise cars online. ... Fisher's husband and chief mechanic, Andy O'Gara, was named winner of the annual Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award. ... The Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing crew for rookie driver Justin Wilson received the annual True Grit Award. A team mechanic, Davey Evans, died three weeks ago after a fight while leaving a bar, and the county coroner ruled the death a homicide caused by a stroke brought on by the fight and other health factors. ... Roger Penske's 14 Indy 500 wins as a car owner is almost three times as many won by the second-most successful owner Lou Moore, whose last of five wins came in 1949 with Bill Holland. Besides Penske, active owners with the most wins are A.J. Foyt, Chip Ganassi and Andretti Green with two each.



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