Coming into Saturday morning, we thought we would have two days of just standing around. We lucked out on Opening Day, but reality sunk in today at the speedway.
The rain began Saturday evening, went through the night, and lasted into today. The showers weren't constant, but they were on and off so much that all track activities were canceled at 1:08 this afternoon. When I arrived in the garage area, there was still a little drizzle, as teams prepared to open up the shops.
Upon entering the garages, I noticed that most teams had their doors open, already preparing the cars. The same was true of Saturday morning, but today there was no sunshine in sight, and the entire speedway was soaked. Of course there weren't as many people on Sunday, but that didn't stop anyone from having a good time.
Rookie driver for Newman/Haas, James Hinchcliffe, brought along his Nerf football and everyone began playing some catch. Dragon Racing teammates Scott Speed and Ho-Pin Tung got their faces painted, each with the team's logo. Justin Wilson was showing off some funny home videos of his daughters, which provided some good laughs.
Other drivers spent the day elsewhere. Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Hunter-Reay visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame for the very first time. He got to see all of the winning cars, as well as the Borg Warner trophy.
Many drivers went to visit the children in attendance at the Indy 500 Kids Club. There were autographs and smiles everywhere you looked. Ed Carpenter hosted members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in his garage. The flight demonstration team is in town for a local air show this weekend, and performed a flyover the Speedway on Opening Day.
I spotted Penske drivers Ryan Briscoe and Will Power discussing things with their engineers and each other at different points of the day. Power seemed extremely relaxed and comfortable with how things were moving along with his team. Briscoe looked as eager as anyone to get out on the track and turn some laps. Both drivers were looking to fine tune things on Sunday.
Another funny moment occurred when KV Racing driver Tony Kanaan attempted to get back to his motor coach for lunch. I say attempted, because at first it looked like he was going to have to hitch a ride. He had backed his golf cart up, and when he tried to take off, it died. There were some chuckles going around, and Tony put his head down and shook it. "Just like my race car" he said, with a laugh. He got a push and it fired back up, and he was able to go get his meal.
Even though these days don't provide any excitement or drama on the race track, they're still a fun day for fans to come in and soak up the atmosphere. The drivers and fans share a unique relationship on days like today.
The weather for the next few days looks much better. While there isn't any rain in the forecast, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are all going to be a little cooler, with high temperatures barely reaching 60 degrees. The drivers were able to shake down their backup cars on Saturday, and most of them told me they will be moving to their primary cars on Monday, so the speeds should really be up.
Practice is set to resume on Monday at noon, and is scheduled to finish at 6 pm.
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