From Amy Konrath
INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, May 17, 2010) – Rain washed out practice for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the first Indianapolis 500 practice day to be completely rained out since Thursday, May 8, 2008.
Rain fell steadily on the Speedway throughout this morning, and IZOD IndyCar Series officials canceled the day’s track activities at 2:30 p.m. (ET).
DAY 3 NOTEBOOK:
Veteran race strategist and team manager John Anderson will call the race for Andretti Autosport driver John Andretti in the #43 Team Window World car. Anderson has a history with his driver and significant success with the Andretti team as the race strategist for drivers Paul Tracy, 2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon, and 2007 winner and Indy Racing League Champion Dario Franchitti.
JOHN ANDERSON: “I brought John out here to the Speedway (in 1988). We worked together for his first Indy 500 race, and here we are back together many years, too many years, later. I’m enjoying it, and I really appreciate the chance to work with the team like this. (The past three races) I’ve been working with Tony Kanaan. I had spoken to John earlier – before he did the deal with Michael – about the possibility of doing something for the ‘500,’ so we got back together. Tony brought in Steve Horne, who owned Tasman Motorsports. Steve’s working with Tony for this one, and I’ve shuffled over to John. I’m looking forward to Race Day.”
Indianapolis 500 veteran Roger Yasukawa is working in both the Media Center and Gasoline Alley this month in an interesting dual role. Yasukawa, from W. Hollywood, Calif., made five consecutive Indianapolis 500 starts between 2003-07, with a best finish of 10th in 2003 and 2004.
ROGER YASUKAWA: “I’m doing a little reporting for the Japanese media and also spotting for Takuma Sato. I’m also looking for a ride, which I think is a long shot. But you have to be here if something happens. I’m ready to go; I just did my medical today. If an opportunity comes up, I’m ready to drive. I just don’t have a sponsor right now to whip out the big check. Besides, all the seats are filled right now. I think this year the series is very healthy, with a lot of competitive cars. Even if I had money, I don’t know where I would be able to take it. With the new format, it’s harder for the teams to justify whether it’s worth it to bring another car out. We’ll have to see how it goes.”
Two-time Indianapolis 500-winning chief mechanic Owen Snyder III is working this month with A.J. Foyt Racing. Snyder was chief mechanic for winners Al Unser Jr. in 1992 and Eddie Cheever Jr. in 1998.
OWEN SNYDER III: (About working with A.J. Foyt): “It’s pretty special. I kind of always wanted to do this. The guy is so sharp. You just can’t imagine the knowledge that he has gained over the years. He just knows. I always wanted to find out first-hand, and you never know about a guy until you work with them or for them, and it has been pretty good so far. Of course, Anthony (Foyt) is happy, and we have been fairly quick, so that makes it a lot better.” (Some people in your position might approach this with a little trepidation): “That’s true! I have been around long enough and have heard all the stories and have seen a lot of them with A.J. and I know how he is, but when it is time to get serious and go to race, we have a real good group of guys working on Anthony’s car. So we get serious, get the work done, and give the answers he wants, and it is going real good so far. I’m just having a real good month. Now it is just been a couple of days, so that could change. I just want to learn. Shoot, I’m almost 50 years old; There are a lot of things I have to learn, too.” (About A.J. Foyt IV coming back to drive at Indy): “I’ll tell you, we found out yesterday that he is back for the right reasons. He isn’t back just to get his name out there or because of his name. He genuinely wants to come and race here. We saw the serious side yesterday when the track went green. He is racer. This is an experienced team, and the good thing about A.J. is that he uses all that experience. He just remembers that a lot of things go full circle. Yeah, there are a lot of new developments out there, but a lot of it gets back to things that happened 10, 15, 20 years ago, and A.J. has been through it all.”
The “Rock the Race” exclusive party at Saks Fifth Avenue rocked Saturday night for 15-year-old Andretti Autosport USF2000 driver Zach Veach as he added two more pledges to talk-show host Oprah Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” petition, bringing his total to eight drivers who have signed the pledge that are vying for spots in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Veach added 2009 Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookie of the Year Alex Tagliani and 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos to Winfrey’s anti-texting petition on his way to obtaining all 33 drivers that qualify for this year’s race by May 30. Tagliani and Matos join Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Justin Wilson, Mario Romancini and John Andretti as drivers who have pledged to support an end to distractive driving.
ZACH VEACH: “It was great to get to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend and start educating everyone about Oprah’s campaign. All the IZOD IndyCar drivers have been really nice and supportive of the initiative.” (About getting the final signatures): “The pressure will be on the week of the Indy 500 to obtain the balance of the signatures while also preparing for the Night Before the 500 race at ORP.”
Indianapolis 500 veteran and KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser talked Sunday about his team’s preparation for the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
JIMMY VASSER: “I think we’re pretty well prepared. We do have one rookie with Takuma Sato, but he sure picked it up like a veteran today. We’re just getting started here. This place can be tough, or it can be the greatest of ease sometimes. We’re very excited. We’re stepping it up with four cars, and we have the personnel to do it right.” (On having Paul Tracy and Barry Green on the team): “You know, it’s kind of an interesting pair there with Barry and P.T. We have GEICO on board for the second year in a row, so there’s good continuity there. We’re just getting started, but certainly the ingredients are there to do very, very well.” (On his overall feel for the team right now): “There have been no real surprises yet. I’m sure there will be. Everything seems to be going very smoothly. We’re fairly happy with the cars right now. There’s no reason to believe we can’t run these things up front.”
Hope and Trey Jackson will appear on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” on Tuesday, May 18 in the College Dance Championships, representing Utah Valley University.
Hope and Trey were engaged on the seventh-floor balcony of the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Indianapolis 500 race week last May.
The last Indianapolis 500 practice day to be completely rained out was Thursday, May 8, 2008.
Newman/Haas Racing driver Hideki Mutoh talked today about the popularity of the Indianapolis 500 in his native Japan.
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic): “To win the Indy 500 would change my life, for sure. And not because I am Japanese and would be the first to win the race; your nationality doesn’t matter. If you win the Indy 500, it is huge. I think I could retire after such a huge accomplishment. The first time I saw the Indy 500 was when Nigel Mansell was in the 1993 race. I watched Formula One as a child, and when he came to race Indy cars for Newman/Haas, I started watching Indy car racing. That was also the first Indy 500 I saw. The Indy 500 is one of the biggest races in the world, so it means a lot to compete in it. Last week, I was in Japan and there were over 100 media at Honda’s press conference for the Twin Ring Motegi race, and they asked me about the Indy 500 and the Motegi race. The race (Indianapolis 500) is on live in Japan on Gaora network at 3 a.m. or something like that and my family and friends are going to watch the race. They will finish watching the race around 7 a.m. and I think that is a good time to drink some milk!”
Butler Blue II, the live mascot of Butler University, visited the Speedway today as a guest of IZOD IndyCar Series Pace Car Team member James Hinchcliffe. After a quick visit with Butler graduate Ed Carpenter in the Panther Racing garage, he made his way to the Pagoda to meet the Pace Car team and ride shotgun in the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car for a moment.
Since early April, the 6-year-old English bulldog has been one of the biggest celebrities in Indianapolis and been asked to make appearances all around Central Indiana.
Blue II’s caretaker is Michael Kaltenmark, a member of the public relations team at Vision Racing.
MICHAEL KALTENMARK: “It all started at the Final Four, where he was in front of 70,000 people at Lucas Oil Stadium, which was very cool. Once we did that, everything fell into the place. It’s great to be here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on a practice day. It ranks up there with being on national TV and being grand marshal of a parade. You name it, and Blue’s done it. It’s been a great year to be him.”
A total of 42 cars are currently at the Speedway, and 36 have passed technical inspection. Thirty-six drivers have been on the track to date and have turned 1,972 laps this month. There was one caution for a total of two hours, 35 minutes today.
TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
Indianapolis 500 practice
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.