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Daily Trackside Report - Tuesday, May 17

TODAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):

8 a.m. Garages open
Noon-6 p.m. Indianapolis 500 practice

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INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE:

At noon, the ambient temperature was 49 degrees with a relative humidity of 80 percent and winds from the north-northeast at 10 mph. Skies were cloudy. The track temperature was 60 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

Noon – GREEN. No cars on track.
12:07 p.m. – YELLOW. Light rain.
12:35 p.m. – GREEN. No cars on track.
1:12 p.m. -- M. Andretti first car on track, driving #27 car of teammate Conway. Ambient temperature is 51, and the track temperature was 61 degrees, according to Firestone engineers. Andretti turned five laps and returned to pits, with top speed of 220.656.
1:21 p.m. – YELLOW. Debris.
1:26 p.m. – GREEN.
2:16 p.m. – #27 Conway on track. Conway turned eight laps and returned to pits, with top speed of 219.910.
3:16 p.m. – YELLOW. Light rain.

***

Biff Henderson, stage manager for “The Late Show with David Letterman,” toured the Speedway today. Henderson and a crew were filming humorous segments for the show.

Henderson met with Indianapolis 500 veterans Bobby Unser, Helio Castroneves, Al Unser Jr., Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal. He also toured the IMS Hall of Fame Museum.

BIFF HENDERSON: (On the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): “The Speedway is classic. It’s really top-shelf all the way. Even as I’m sitting in the Museum, I’m looking at all these past winning cars and thinking of the drivers, and I know it’s a lot of history. It’s an incredible facility. It’s just great.” (On his interactions with drivers and teams): “Obviously, today isn’t the best day for track activity, but getting into those prep garages is quite an experience. It’s not my first time out here. I’ve done a few things here for David Letterman. I’ve been out here a few times. Talking with the drivers like Helio and past drivers like Little Al and Bobby Unser is just great. I’ve enjoyed talking to the younger guys, but there’s nothing like talking to a legend. Having that experience and being out here for the 100th anniversary is something very special for me. It’s a very impressive place.”

***

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser already has arrived at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to celebrate the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 over the next 12 days. Unser will be one of 11 Indianapolis 500 winners driving 11 Indianapolis 500-winning cars during pre-race ceremonies Sunday, May 29.

Unser will drive the No. 8 National that Joe Dawson guided to victory in the 1912 Indianapolis 500. The car features a second seat for a riding mechanic, which will be filled by Unser’s wife, Lisa.

BOBBY UNSER (On being a part of the 100th anniversary pre-race festivities): “It’s going to be a great honor to drive the 1912 winning car. They had riding mechanics in those days, and my wife is going to ride in the mechanic’s seat. So she’s got to know that if that thing runs out of gas, she has to get out and push. But it really is going to be nice to drive that car. I mean, this is the 100th anniversary of the greatest race course in the entire world. It’s been around for a hundred years. That’s a lot of history. You look at the Museum, all these winning cars, it’s just awesome.”

***

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE (cont.):
4:05 p.m. – Track closed for the day due to rain.

***

FASTEST TIMES/SPEEDS OF PRACTICE:
Pos. Car Name Time Speed
1. 27 Marco Andretti 40.7875 220.656
2. 27 Mike Conway 40.9259 219.910

***

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:

MIKE CONWAY (No. 27 Hire Heroes USA/7-Eleven/Dr Pepper): (On practicing in the cold weather): “When it’s that cold, unless the race is going to be like that, it’s not really worth running out there. We won’t learn too much in it. Not much to be gained today. It does kind of give us more tires to use for the rest of the week each day. Hopefully it warms up a bit tomorrow.” (On the shortened amount of practice time before qualifications): “It’s not far away. We always think we have loads of time at the beginning of the week, and then it’s always the same thing. You get to the last couple of days, and if you haven’t quite got the car right, then you’re going to be rushing a bit more. As long as the car is good and you keep chipping away at it, I think that’s the main thing. I think we’re really close. I think we’ve got a good balance, and I think the speed is there. We’ve just got to take our time and know that qualifying isn’t that far away.” (On his reason for practicing and having Marco Andretti in the car): “We made some changes overnight, and we wanted to get a feel for what it felt like. It’s good for me to let (Marco) have a feel and see if I’m feeling the same things as him. We had the same comments, and we got some good back-to-back running.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Hire Heroes USA/7-Eleven/Dr Pepper): (On practicing in the cold weather): “I think I have a little bit of my grandfather in me to where I was probably the only one on the team that thinks we can learn something. At the same time, though, I think I was just trying to convince them so that I could go drive. I just wanted to feel out a different setup and thought, ‘Why not?’” (On his goals for the day): “I was able to try a setup that I haven’t run yet. I just kind of got my thoughts on it and a second opinion. You always learn. If we were going through pretty extensive test items and stuff like that, it’s different. I just wanted to feel out an overall package.” (On the shortened schedule before qualifying): “I think guys like me, we could be in trouble if we slip a little bit. I’m not sure it’s experience because I’m going to be flat those four laps, and it’s whether the car wants to do it or not. It’s going to be super-competitive out there. We’re going to try to get what we can get.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “It is always great to be at Indy, just walking through the garage area and seeing the fans that show up braving the elements. It is a shame that the weather hasn’t been cooperating with us much this week. The Verizon guys have been staying busy preparing the car and my engineer, and I have had plenty of time to discuss our strategy moving forward. I am really looking forward to getting back on track.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 IZOD Team Penske): “This weather has been a factor here at the Speedway, and even though I would rather be out on the track, it is really special just coming to the track every day. The fans are amazing. The fact that they show up in this damp, cold weather really shows how dedicated they are. Our No. 6 IZOD car is all polished up and ready to run. Now, we just need the weather to give us a chance so we can get out there and see what we can do.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoi

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