“The Track Is Now Open For Practice!” (Burrrrr!)

SPEEDWAY, IN: On a day that featured sun, rain, wind and frigid temperatures, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened for practice Saturday as a prelude to the 97th Indianapolis 500. A good crowd was on hand to experience a day that featured almost every conceivable springtime weather condition imaginable!

With temperatures hovering in the low ’50’s most of the day, those who took to the Speedway were faced with the challenge of safely warming their Firestone tires before attempting any real speed. And, with a forecast of climbing temperatures as the week leading up to time trials progresses, many teams kept a low profile; feeling that there was little to learn in the existing cold that could help prepare for Qualification weekend.

During the two hours set aside for Rookie Orientation, A.J. Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz and Tristan Vautier all breezed through their tests with no problems. In addition to the rookies, eleven Speedway veterans took laps around the legendary oval, led by Ed Carpenter (220.907 MPH), with second year competitor Josef Newgarden a close second (220.920 MPH). All in all, it was one of the most laid-back Opening Days in recent memory which, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing.

With another day of cool temps in the low to mid ’50’s expected for Mother’s Day Sunday, another fairly casual session of track activity is expected. As more normal weather conditions return to Indianapolis as the week progresses, the action should become more intense as the battle for the Pole approaches next Saturday.

In the meantime, grab your parka’s and gloves and come on out, because the sun is shinning, and it’s May at the Brickyard!

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