Indy Qualifying Notebook - 1 The usual suspects lead morning practice at Indy: Team Penske (Briscoe, Helio), Team Ganassi (Dixon, Franchitti), and Penske addendum (Power) made up the five fastest times. Mario Moraes (KVRT) was a surprise 6th fastest.
- Pole day at Indy will once again be at the mercy of the weather. While the temps will be ideal -- in the 60's -- the westerly winds are already gusting to 30 mph and are swirling around the track.
- Robert Doornbos is keeping the Dallara parts truck busy. His crash yesterday took out the right side of his primary car. Today he did a half-spin and took off the left side. The car will live -- mostly bolt-on parts repair -- but Doornbos won't be making a pole run today. Doornbos is cleared to drive, and his car should be repaired before 6 pm today, but NHLR feels the need to try tomorrow instead. Doornbos later said, "I have no idea (what happened.) I'm so disappointed. The guys did an amazing job getting the car ready. We had a good first outing. Everything felt good. We were just starting a run and rear just went on me. I don't know what happened. We'll have to look at the data, but it's disappointing because I wanted to qualify today."
- The NASCAR exodus continues. Richard Petty just wrapped up comments to the press as part-owner of the #43 (surprised?) car driven by John Andretti. John, of course, drove for Richard a few years ago in NASCAR. The car is fielded by Dreyer and Reinbold Racing.
- The crowd at Indy today is small -- very small. It hasn't been that long ago that over 100,000 fans attended pole day, and in some years, bump day. The Speedway says that it has 99.5 miles of bleachers (if laid end-to-end) and no doubt that most of that will be empty today.
- What a difference a year makes. It hasn't been that long ago that Rahal Letterman Racing was a contender to win the Indy 500. This year they have a skeleton crew, relegated to a second weekend effort. Oriol Servia is rumored to be driving that car (seen at the track today), with Buddy Rice's name also mentioned. Former Rahal driver Scott Sharp is running with Panther Racing, along with his longtime sponsor Patron. RLR's other longtime sponsor, EPIC (the ethanol people) are nowhere to be seen at Indy this year, apparently the victim of fuel prices that fell by 50% since last year's race. And, of course, Bobby Rahal is the owner of several car dealerships, which can't be doing well in the depressed economy.
- Marty Roth racing has 4 cars entered for the race, and one assumes that they'll try to qualify two of those. Then again, the doors are closed and the lights are out in the Roth garages today. Marty never has been one to talk to the press, so that's all anyone seems to know for certain. Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy
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