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Daily Trackside Report - Wednesday, May 19

DAY 5 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 19, 2010

TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):

8 a.m.

Garages open

Noon-6 p.m.

Indianapolis 500 practice

***

Medical report from Dr. Geoffrey Billows, Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of medical services: #8 E.J. Viso was released Tuesday night from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after X-rays were negative. Viso has not been cleared to drive and will be re-evaluated today at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.

Viso crashed in Turn 1 at 5:50 p.m. (ET) Tuesday.

***

E.J. Viso will be available for interviews at 1:30 p.m. (ET) today at the KV Racing Technology garage, B-30 in Gasoline Alley.

***

2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon will sign copies of his new book, “Lionheart,” from 10:30-10:50 a.m. Sunday, May 23 at the Shop 13 Pagoda Plaza Retail Shop at IMS.

***

Team Penske driver Ryan Briscoe wanted to “do something special” for fans in conjunction with the re-launch of his website. So Briscoe and his wife, Nicole, formulated the plan of a contest via his Twitter account with the grand prize being an all-expense-paid VIP package for two to the Indianapolis 500.

Fans can tweet their prediction of his qualifying speed to the thousandth of a second along with his starting position during Pole Day on May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through www.twitter.com/RyanBriscoe6 on Twitter.

The prize package includes travel and accommodations for five days and four nights, tickets to the race, tickets to Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 28, garage and pit passes, and official gear of Ryan Briscoe Racing. Briscoe is funding the prize package.

Visit www.ryanbriscoe.com for complete rules and regulations. Deadline is 11:59 p.m. (ET) Friday, May 21.

RYAN BRISCOE: “I wanted to have a unique package that would be special to fans. We’re kicking off the launching of the website with a bang. I want to continue this throughout the season with contests for maybe guess my laps led in a race and the position I finish in a race.”

***

Medical report from Dr. Geoffrey Billows, Indianapolis Motor Speedway director of medical services: #8 E.J. Viso has been cleared to drive after evaluation in the Clarian Emergency Medical Center.

***

IZOD IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira will rev up his athletic engine for a different type of race this year as he takes on the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3, Presented by Ford, on Nov.13 in Clearwater, Fla. Meira will join approximately 1,800 other top athletes, ranging in age from 18 to 80-plus.

The Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3, in its fifth year, consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run.

Meira’s interest in the sport of triathlon began back in 2001 when he competed in his first race in his native Brazil. Since then, he has participated in more than a dozen races at varying distances, including the Ironman 70.3 Pucon event earlier this year. In addition to his triathlon resume, Meira has competed in multiple half-marathon events and the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis.

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. A.J. Foyt Racing): “This was actually on my bucket list. It really was. I’m really honored to accept this invitation to participate in the World Championship 70.3; it’s a very special honor. I’ve been in sports for a very long time, and the city I grew up in had two very famous athletes, and that’s how I got the buzz. Not only was it part of what I do for racing, the running, biking, and all the preparation for the racing, but I also always liked it. So, I’m not kidding, this really was on my bucket list. I’m honestly thrilled.” (On what the event means to him): “For me, you are there for yourself and not because you’re going to beat one, two, or three other guys. You want to prove what you are capable of to yourself; like how far you can push yourself. That’s why I’m doing it. I’m going for a time around 4.5 hours.” (On how this affects racing): “I want to make this clear that this doesn’t take away from the racing. This adds to the racing. It’s a great hobby, and it’s something that while I’m doing it, I can learn about myself and I can use that in the race.” (On coming back after his injury last season): “It was one of those things that give you a lot of time to step back and do things slowly. Since I wasn’t going to be in the race car, I didn’t have to be in all the places that you normally have to be while driving. I had a lot of time at home training and trying to get healthy the right way. A lot of times you don’t have the time to do it right, and I was able to take it step by step. When you get hurt, you want to come back even harder, and that’s what I was trying to do.” (On his rehabilitation): “After a month, I had to walk for an hour. Just walk. That’s all. I could go to the gym, but I couldn’t put any weight on my spine, so things that I was doing were pulling instead of pushing. The second part of it was swimming. Obviously, I couldn’t swim freestyle like you normally would but I was spending a lot of time in the pool.” (On finishing second at Indy and trying to win): “I want to see when I can win. Finishing second a couple times with a couple different teams and cars, if anything it proved that if everything works like it’s supposed to, then I could do it. I think that with A.J. Foyt Racing and ABC, we’re setting ourselves up for that this year. I mean, I’ve got a little catching up to do, but this is the best position in the points that the team has been in a long time. We’re going to keep working hard on our race setup so that we can get from second to first, which is the biggest step of all.” (On his recovery and A.J. Foyt’s recovery in 1990): “I was lucky enough to not have any hardware put into my back, which delays the process. I did fracture vertebrae, but they weren’t out of alignment. It was easier (than Foyt’s rehabilitation in 1990). That’s what is great about having A.J with the team. He understands things not only in the mind of a team owner but also from a driver’s perspective. That’s great to have on our side.” (On Foyt handling Meira’s participation in triathlons): “He is OK with it as long as it doesn’t take away from the racing. He knows that it adds to the racing, so he is all for it. He doesn’t care if I jump off a tree or whatever, as long as it adds to performance.” (On what he does well in triathlons); “Swimming is where I need to improve. I have a lot of time to gain in running, but as far as percentage-wise, I need to do better in swimming. I’m pretty good with the biking.”

***

Maybe the smirks on the face of crew members were a giveaway, but 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti nevertheless was surprised when a bagpiper began playing in front of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing garage today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and his wife, Ashley Judd, presented him with a large cake to celebrate his 37th birthday.

The cake featured an icing image of Franchitti and his brother, Marino, in their youth.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: "I kind of thought there would be something with a cake, but I was expecting Tony (Kanaan) to be carrying it and I'd be wiping it off my face instead of cutting it. I have my guard up." (About hearing a bagpipe, which reminded him of his native Scotland): “I heard a piper, and I thought, 'Oh, what's happening here?' And, sure enough, he arrives in front of the g

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