Saturday Morning at Belle Isle (Delayed post) It's just before 8 a.m. here on Belle Isle. The Pirelli World Challenge cars are practicing on a wet track. Grand-AM will have a brief practice afterwards, followed by IndyCar Series qualifying at 9:15 a.m.
To reiterate, this morning's qualifying session will set the grid for tomorrow's race. And because of the doubleheader, the format will be as follows:
1. The pole position will be awarded to the best overall lap time in the Race 2 qualifying sessions. The reminder of the cars from the pole sitter's qualifying group will occupy the odd-numbered positions on the starting grid, ranked by lap time, beginning with third.
2. Even-numbered starting positions will be filled by the other group, ranked by lap time, starting with second.
3. One point will be awarded to entrant and driver with the fastest time in each qualifying group.
In accordance with Rule 126.96.36.199 of the IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook, qualifying groups will continue to be determined by the combined times posted by entries during the practice session a day earlier. Group 1 will consist of odd-numbered positions on the practice time sheet, while even-numbered positions will comprise Group 2.
The weather of course, will be a huge factor today. Right now, the sun is out drying the wet track, but more thunderstorms are expected throughout the day.
Another topic of interest for today will be the crowd. Remember, part of the motivation behind the doubleheader format was to boost the Saturday gate. Race goers today will be treated to a Pirelli World Challenge, Rolex Grand-Am and Izod IndyCar Series race. What exactly the expanded Saturday schedule does to boost the gate will be interesting to see.
Of course, the weather can always wreak havoc on the best of plans. Reports are calling for a 50% chance of rain throughout the day, and it does seem there will be at least a thunder shower at some point in the day.
Whatever happens, the variable conditions should add another layer of intrigue for the IndyCar teams in what is already a weekend of uncertainty. Brian C. reporting from Belle Isle
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