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IndyCar Indy 500

Rain washes out opening practice day for Indy 500

Persistent rain showers caused the opening day of IndyCar practice for the Indianapolis 500 to be cancelled.

Rain in Indy

Track action was due to start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today at 9.00am local (Eastern) time, with first practice scheduled to run until 11:15am. But early morning rain soaked the 2.5-mile oval.

After rain showers washed out the morning session, the track dried and teams were allowed to bring their cars to pitlane at 1:50pm local time for what should have been practice two.

But just as drivers were about to hit the track at 2:15pm for their installation laps, the rain returned and cars were sent back to their garages just before 2:30pm.

Another rain shower then soaked the track, and IndyCar officially gave up hope at 4:10pm local time over the track drying in time to get any running in.

The weather forecast is much better for the rest of the week, with sunny conditions expected tomorrow once the rain bands have blown through.

Track activity is scheduled to resume at 10:00am on Wednesday with five minutes of installation laps for all cars, followed by RC Enerson's rookie orientation programme between 10:15am and midday. Practice for all cars will take place from noon until 6:00pm.

The only action on track at Indy so far

The only action on track at Indy so far

Photo by: IndyCar Series

Indy 500 practice and qualifying schedule

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the cars will be on track from 12 noon to 6.00pm. The so-called 'Fast Friday' is traditionally when race set-ups take less of a priority and qualifying simulation runs take precedence.

The BorgWarner turbos common to the Honda and Chevrolet engines will be wound up from 1.3-bar boost to 1.5-bar, a level at which they’ll remain until end of play on Sunday evening.

The field will be divided in half for two final half hour practices on Saturday morning before qualifying commences at 11am. When every car in the qualifying order for Saturday has had at least one chance to qualify, teams may choose from two lanes for subsequent attempts.

Cars in the Priority Lane (Lane 1) must withdraw their qualified time but get priority access to the track ahead of Lane 2. That second lane is for cars that have already qualified and want to try to improve their position, but choose not to risk forfeiting the speed average they have already set.

When the gun goes off at 5.50pm, positions 13-30 will be set, and those drivers will not re-qualify on Sunday. The 12 drivers who will contest the front four rows of three, and the four drivers who will squabble over the three slots on the last row will now have been defined.

On Sunday 21 May, from 11.30am, the dozen drivers still in the fight for pole will get a one-hour practice session, and this will be immediately followed by an hour’s practice for the desperate quartet due to battle over the last row.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet qualifying run

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet qualifying run

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

From 2.00 to 3.00pm comes Top 12 qualifying, in which positions seven through 12 will be determined. Their running order is based on Saturday times, slowest to fastest, and each car is guaranteed one attempt. The quickest of the six advance to the Firestone Fast Six shootout.

At 4.00pm, the four Last Chance Qualifiers will compete for positions 31-33. Each car is guaranteed one attempt and may make multiple attempts until time expires at 5.00pm. Each car’s most recent qualification speed will remain eligible for the starting lineup until the time is withdrawn or qualifications end.

At 5.15pm comes the Firestone Fast Six shootout for pole. Positions 1-6 will be determined and running order is based on times from top 12 Qualifying, slowest to fastest. Each car is guaranteed one attempt.

The top 12 drivers on the starting grid will receive IndyCar Series points, with polewinner earning 12, the second fastest 11, down to one point for the 12th-placed starter.

On Monday 22 May, the engines are returned to 1.3-bar turbo boost – race boost levels – for two hours of practice, 1.00-3.00pm. Several teams and drivers say this can be an extremely useful session as it covers the kind of time frame of the Indy 500 itself, therefore with (hopefully) comparable temperatures and track conditions.

There is no track activity from Tuesday 23 May through to Thursday 25 May and gates are closed to the public. However, on the Tuesday and Wednesday, from 11.00am to 1.00pm, teams are allowed to do static pit stop practice on pitlane, albeit with no engines running.

Friday 26 May is Carb Day. From 11.00am to 1.00pm, the cars will hit the oval for the final time before the race.

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