Rain Washes Out Second Day Qualifying

Sunday, May 11, 2008

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Twenty-two starting positions for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 remain in play as rain washed out Second Day Qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Qualifications will continue Saturday, May 17 when positions 12-33 will be filled.

"We don't have a lot of track time left before the race, and we still have to work on qualifying," said Conquest Racing rookie Jaime Camara, who will use track time available May 14-17 to focus on preparing the No. 34 car for qualifications. "We are going to sit down with the engineers, but I think that we will focus on our qualifying all of this week and then focus more on the race during Miller Lite Carb Day. That is the challenge for everybody that is going to qualify the second week. We have to do the best with what we have and just try to reach our goals now."

It was the first time a qualification day has been rained out since 2006, but it's the third day this month that rain has forced the cancellation of all on-track activity. Scott Dixon won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone on Saturday, May 10 as the first 11 starting positions of the 33-car grid were filled. Dixon averaged 226.366 mph over a four-lap qualifying attempt in a Target Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

"We didn't have to have this conversation (regarding rain) last year," said Brian Barnhart, president of competition and operations for the sanctioning Indy Racing League and the race's chief steward. "It's a shame because it certainly alters everyone's plans for the week. The teams are going to be really anxious to get some quality track time Wednesday through Friday and even in between qualification runs next weekend.

"I anticipate a lot of track activity as teams are working on full tanks in preparation for the 92nd Running (of the Indianapolis 500)."

Thirty-one qualifying attempts were recorded (23 completed), which included six cars bumped, on an activity-packed Pole Day. Dixon and Dan Wheldon, who will start next to his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate on the front row, took advantage of the qualification rules and withdrew their initial times for another run at the pole. Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, who will start third, also made two attempts.

"I think the format the last couple of years has played out very well," Barnhart said. "I think it's created a lot of excitement, drama, and I think it places a premium on strategic decisions and thoughts of the team manager, the drivers. Qualifying around here, the lowest downforce configuration, on the edge as much as possible, is not the easiest situation to put drivers in. And to put them in that situation to do it multiple times - a guy felt like he did a good job, gets a good run, could be sitting third or fourth on the grid, and then they make a decision, 'OK, we're going to pull this out, and you're going to do it again,' it puts a lot of pressure on that driver. I thought they all responded very well. It's good excitement, and I think it plays out well."

So, with the day off, drivers and crew members quickly made alternate plans.

"Now that we have the day off, I'm going to go shopping for some golf equipment for a golf tournament I will be in tomorrow at the Brickyard Crossing," Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal said.


Indy 500 tickets on sale: Tickets are on sale for the 2008 Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25, the 92nd running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Fans can order tickets online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or at the ticket office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (ET) Monday-Sunday during May, with special hours of 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Race Day, Sunday, May 25. Online orders can be made at any time.

Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.