as rain stops action
DRR Drivers Work With Engineering Staff As They Prepare For Qualifying
It was a frustrating but productive day for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As rain spit off and on throughout the day, there was plenty of action behind the scenes in the DRR garage area with qualifying for the May 25 Indy 500 approaching. No cars made it to the racing surface Wednesday for a scheduled practice session and the teams prepared for another practice on Thursday.
However, thunderstorms are predicted. The three Dreyer & Reinbold drivers — Buddy Rice, Townsend Bell and Milka Duno — worked with their respective engineers on potential car setups for the next few days as qualifications runs are set for Saturday, May 10. Engineers John Dick, Chris Finch and Ivan Koldsgaard logged many hours on their computers and quizzed the drivers on the track conditions that will come up in the days ahead. After a busy Tuesday practice day on the legendary 2.5-mile oval, the quiet of rain hitting the pavement with a stark contrast for the racing team.
“We were anxious to get back on track today,” said Dick, who’ll spearhead Rice’s operation for the month of May. “We had a good Tuesday session and there were many things we wanted to try on the No. 15 car. But I have been through enough months of May to know this is what happens each year. It is the old ’hurry up and wait’ mode. But we were able to discuss a lot of items for the next few days. So overall, it was a good day for us. But I know the drivers don’t like sitting around and watching it rain. It is just part of the business.”
The busy action in the garages was not focused on just the drivers and engineers. The DRR area was a hectic mix of decal placement, chassis adjustments and sign hanging for the team’s associates. “With the IndyCar Series schedule being so busy since Japan and Kansas, it is tough on the teams to have the proper time to get all of the ga- rage areas ready for the month,” said team owner Dennis Reinbold. “So many of the usual pre-event activities were done today with the rain on track. It helped us catch up for the rest of the month. We are ready now.”
Former Indy 500 champion Rice has been through the rain dance many times at Indy. “The year we won at Indy, it was a lot of rain and wait,” said Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 pole and race winner. “It was that way for the practice days as well as qualifying. And, in the race, we had rain delay and, then a tornado warning at the end of the rain. That was some wild weather in 2004. So for me, the rain is something I get used to. I don’t like it because a driver wants more track time. But there is nothing you can do but wait.”