Indy 500 2nd day qualifying

 SHARP QUALIFIES IN LAST MINUTE FOR INDIANAPOLIS 500 TO LOCK IN 22 STARTERS

The 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion qualified for the 2009 Indianapolis 500 on his final attempt of the day with a dramatic last-minute run that bumped E.J. Viso out of the provisional grid of 22 cars.

Sharp, who withdrew his first run and was bumped out of the field by A.J. Foyt IV with roughly 10 minutes to go, qualified 20th with a four-lap average of 222.162 mph in his No. 16 Tequila Patrón Panther Racing Honda-powered Dallara. Positions 11-22 were filled Sunday after starting spots 1-11 were filled Saturday.

2008 Firestone Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos led the day's 11 qualifiers with a four-lap average of 223.429 mph in the No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon car to become the first Chase Rookie of the Year candidate to qualify for the May 24 race.

Paul Tracy (223.111 mph), Vitor Meira (223.054) and Justin Wilson (222.903 mph) make up Row 5, while Hideki Mutoh (222.805 mph), Ed Carpenter (222.780) and Dan Wheldon (222.777) make up the sixth row.

Foyt (222.805 mph), Sharp, Sarah Fisher (222.082 mph) and Davey Hamilton (221.956 mph) round out the day's qualifiers.

The final 11 spots of the 33-car field will be set on May 16 with Bump Day following on May 17.

Three drivers were involved in incidents during the day. Mike Conway, Alex Tagliani and John Andretti all encountered trouble in Turn 1. Tagliani and Andretti were uninjured while Conway was admitted to Methodist Hospital in good condition with bruised lungs.

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INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY CENTENNIAL ERA FACT OF THE DAY: In 1938, a pit wall was constructed to separate crews' work area from the pit area, thus providing a safer working environment for crews during track activity. In 1957, a second wall was added, separating pit lane from the racing surface.

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Pole winner Helio Castroneves is celebrating his 34th birthday today. Other drivers celebrating birthdays this month are: A.J. Foyt IV (25 on May 25) and Dario Franchitti (36 on May 19).

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Panther Racing has faced a busier-than-expected past two days in Gasoline Alley and at its shop in Indianapolis due to a crash Friday by Scott Sharp and a crash Saturday by Dan Wheldon. Panther team manager Chris Mower described Sunday morning the work the team needed to complete to repair both cars.

CHRIS MOWER: (On repairs to Scott Sharp's car): "The guys did an all-nighter the night before last (Friday night). Last night, we left here around 10 o'clock. The tub had to go to a local carbon shop, Aerodine, to be repaired. More or less the whole right-hand-side of the car has been replaced; the gearbox. The engine actually survived." (On Dan Wheldon's car): "His damage (to his car) wasn't anywhere near as severe as the Scott Sharp crash, but it was heavy enough to where we had to change the engine, the gearbox and the left-hand rear corner. As a precaution, we also changed the right rear; more or less from the cockpit back on that car is all new parts." (On whether the performance the cars will be hindered due to the accidents): "For sure, both cars should be able to perform to the level they were. Dan's car; we were maybe 15 minutes late (for a qualifying attempt on Pole Day). We got out before qualifying, but by that time, the line was just too long. We're hoping to be at the top of the (speed) sheets today." (Was using a spare car considered for Scott Sharp?): "We have three cars between the two drivers. None of the crashes were severe enough to where we wanted to use the spare car. Once you start running a car, it has to be quite severe in order for you to go to a backup, in our opinion. You know what your comfort level is with the car you've got."

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Indianapolis 500 Chase Rookies of the Year Jerry Sneva, Josele Garza and Steve Knapp met the media this morning in the Economaki Press Conference Room.

Sneva was Chase Rookie of the Year in 1977 after finishing 10th, Garza in 1981 after starting sixth and finishing 23rd and Knapp in 1998 after finishing third.

Sneva is retired and helps his son T.J. race Legends, Thunder Cars and Late Models at O'Reilly Raceway Park in nearby Clermont, Ind. He was in the tire business after racing.

Knapp currently works for his company, Elite Engines, which builds road-racing engines.

JERRY SNEVA: "We had seven rookies in 1977. The Rookie of the Year was something I didn't expect because Danny Ongais and Janet Guthrie were in the race. We finished 10th. It's something that my brother (1983 Indy 500 winner) Tom Sneva didn't win, so I went one-up on him for the only time." (About racing at Indy in that era): "We didn't have engineers like they do now. You told the crew chief what the car was doing, and he would make some changes. It was easier to go slower, but going faster was real difficult. The real jump was getting the car to go from 184 mph to 186." (Memorable incident): "Mike Mosley was my crew chief, and he told me to go flat out one day. I wanted him to change the tires, but he sent me out. I went through Turn 1 and Turn 2 and down the backstretch and thought that I'd better do what he told me. So I went into Turn 3 flat out, and spun into the infield grass and then back across the track. I got back to the pits, and he asked me, 'What did you do?' I told him, 'I did what you told me to do - I went flat out.' He (Mosley) changed the tires then."

JOSELE GARZA: "The Rookie of the Year award was something very meaningful for me. It was a great feather in my cap back then, and it opened up a lot of opportunities, even in Formula One. I went to Monaco that year and was even offered a Formula 3 ride because of it. Even today in some areas, it's still meaningful." (About his life since racing): "I've gotten away from racing in the last several years, but before I retired from racing, I had Formula 2 and Formula 3 teams in Mexico. But then NASCAR Mexico had taken over, and I retired. I still go to the tracks once in a while. This is my second time back here (since his last race in 1987). I was here for only a couple qualifying days in 1996, I think." (About his age when he was a rookie): "I think there was a mistake made on my age when I came here (in 1981). They had me listed as 21 or 22, and I was only 19. I'm not sure who made the mistake, but just in case, I still have my old ID." (About the changes in racing since his driving career): "I think the biggest change in racing here is in the technology. With the telemetry, you can't lie to the engineers anymore. You tell them you're flat-out all the way around, and they tell you, 'No, you aren't.'"

STEVE KNAPP: (About winning the Chase Rookie of the Year Award): "To me, it was a goal that I had. The team that I ran with was ISM, and they had Jeff Ward, who had won the Rookie of the Year the year before, so I was hoping that we could do the same thing and, you know, we had a pretty big rookie class that year. It was nine or 11 rookies or something, and Robby Unser was a strong runner the whole month. You didn't learn that you were Rookie of the Year until at the banquet that night, and once you get that, it's something that nobody can take away from you. Coming back here now, coming and seeing the cars on the track, it's something special, and you'll always have that with you." (About practice during May 1998): "I went out there and ran with about as many people as I could find, and come to think of it, my owner called me in a few times and I stayed out to keep learning some more, and he got kind of mad at me. But I knew what to expect." (About the 1998 race): "The thing that kind of caught me up was I had heard all these stories about how at the start you get sucked into the vacuum and it's hard to breathe because of the fumes and everything, so I was prepared for that, and my whole goal was to kind of fall into line. When we got the green flag and came out of Turn 2, it was like, 'Oh, the race has started,' because everybody was rocketing away from me. A couple of guys passed me, and I was like, 'This is not an endurance race; this is a 500-mile race.' I came through US Ford 2000 series, and we ran IRP and New Hampshire and a couple of other ovals. We had a practice day the Thursday before, and we would pretty much run all day long, so I got a lot of oval experience just in one season of racing there, and that helped a lot."

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Sarah Fisher's mother, Reba, waved the green flag at the north end of pit lane to start Fisher's first qualifying attempt this afternoon. Ed Carpenter's wife, Heather, who is expecting the couple's second child later this summer, waved the green flag to begin Carpenter's attempt.

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The Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team has been working overtime to repair the primary and backup cars of Robert Doornbos. He crashed the primary car Friday and the backup car Saturday.

MITCH DAVIS (Chief mechanic, Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing): "Well, we sent one car back to Chicago for our guys to work on. The car we crashed yesterday is out in Brownsburg (Ind.) at a (carbon) shop getting some work done. We'll have it back Tuesday morning. We ought to be out there running on Thursday and qualifying on Saturday." (Do you anticipate any changes to the cars with the repairs that are made, or should they be back to where they were?): "Yeah, that's why we didn't run today. Our goal is to win the race, not to just go out there and qualify. We've got to spend a little more time getting a car back to 100 percent instead of just piecing it together. Basically, we're going to put all of our effort into building one car that can win the race." (On the specific repairs being made): "Well, on one car we crashed the left side and the other we crashed the right side, so it was a blessing in the end. We only lost one car full of parts. Both tubs got damaged a little bit, but nothing major. So, we'll have the car from Brownsburg back here this week."

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Indianapolis 500 veteran Darren Manning was in Gasoline Alley today, looking for opportunities for a ride in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.

DARREN MANNING: "I'm kind of always looking for a ride. But whether one comes available that suits my situation is another matter. It's not like it's going to be my first speedway or anything, so what I'm looking for is different than a rookie, for example. There's no point in me going out in something just bumping into the field and pounding around in the back of the field. Mid- to mid-front pack cars are all full, so I'm just trying to work on my relationship with Dreyer and Reinbold Racing seeing as I've done a couple of races with them this year. There may be an opportunity to do some more this year. It was a bit of unfortunate situation this morning with Mike (Conway). I got the call to kind of be on stand-by, and I'm fortunate that they've got all my seats and everything and I'm available for it, but I don't think that's going to be needed. I think Mike's going to be absolutely fine. I think we'll see him back out next week, so I'll just concentrate on my deal. I've got Grand-Am racing that I'm doing and hopefully a few more races with these guys, and work on something for next year, as well."

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SECOND DAY QUALIFYING NOTES:

·         Raphael Matos qualified 12th, the highest qualifying rookie in the field. Last year's field featured 11 rookies, and Hideki Mutoh was the highest qualifier at ninth.

·         Paul Tracy qualified 13th, his second-best Indianapolis 500 qualifying effort in six races. His best is seventh in 1993.

·         Vitor Meira qualified 14th for his seventh Indianapolis 500.

·         Justin Wilson qualified 15th, bettering his rookie effort of 16th a year ago.

·         Hideki Mutoh qualified 16th for his second Indianapolis 500.

·         Ed Carpenter qualified 17th for his sixth Indianapolis 500.

·         Dan Wheldon qualified 18th, his worst starting position in seven Indianapolis 500s. He started 16th in 2005 and won the race.

·         A.J. Foyt IV qualified 19th for his sixth Indianapolis 500.

·         Scott Sharp qualified 20th for his 12th Indianapolis 500.

·         Sarah Fisher qualified 21st for her eighth Indianapolis 500. She has started 21st or 22nd in three consecutive Indianapolis 500s.

·         Davey Hamilton qualified 22nd for his ninth Indianapolis 500

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With four minutes remaining in qualifying today, #13 E.J. Viso, #44 Davey Hamilton and #67 Sarah Fisher were in the qualifying line in front of #16 Scott Sharp.

Those drivers could have stayed in line until time expired at 6 p.m., but the Indy Racing League reserved the right to request those drivers to move out of line if they were not planning an attempt.

Brian Barnhart, IRL president of competition and racing operations, reminded the teams of Viso, Hamilton and Fisher about this, and all three teams agreed to pull out of line to let Sharp make an attempt that started less than one minute before the gun was fired to end qualifying.

BRIAN BARNHART: "The sportsmanship out there was incredible today."

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Scott Sharp's 10-year-old son, Jackson, asked Sharp what the team had changed between qualifying attempts during the post-qualifying press conference. Sharp replied, "Why did you ask me that?" Jackson answered, "Because you never tell me these things."

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SECOND DAY QUALIFYING QUOTES:

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 US Air Force Luczo Dragon Racing, qualified 12th): (That was a fast run): "Yeah, I was a little bit surprised, but we did a qualifying simulation during the five minutes before qualifying started, and we made a few adjustments in the car for the qualifying run and found almost half a mile an hour. So I'm extremely happy for the Air Force Luczo Dragon team. The whole crew did an amazing job. Let's go racing." (This is a big boost for this team): "The team has spent a lot of time working the car over in the winter. Unfortunately, we didn't qualify yesterday, but we did put in a great effort today. We were impressed with our speed, and hopefully we'll have a fast car for the race." (Can you play the "what if" game - if you posted this speed yesterday you'd be in Row 3): "Yeah, but it's hard to compare like that because the conditions were definitely worse. It doesn't matter because we made a change in the car overnight and the change worked, and that's what counts."

PAUL TRACY (No. 15 GEICO/KV Racing Technology, 13th): "I'm not really happy with the laps we qualified on, so I'm disappointed. But we're just out of miles and need to get some full-tank running in. We wanted to be in the 223s today. We achieved that on the first lap, then started sliding the front tire with a tail wind in Turn 1, and then it kind of fell off. The last couple of laps I just couldn't get the speed out of it. The race is a long race, and we've got an OK starting position. We're starting in mid-pack, and we'll go from there. A lot of things can happen in a 500-mile race. It's three times longer than any other race in the series, and a lap can change over the course of the race. You work on that car until the end of the race to get it competitive."

VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co. AJ Foyt Racing, 14th): "The main thing was getting in the show today. That's more important than the position you qualified for today. If we are in the race, we don't have to worry about that anymore. We can start working on the balance of the car. The weather was better today and that helped, but so did a lot of changes that we made. We came back to basics a little bit, and it worked. We got the speed we were looking for on a day like this, but yesterday is where we really wanted to be. Our starting position was secondary to the priority of getting qualified today. Now we have a whole week to think about the race."

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, 15th): "I really enjoyed being out there. The car was working well, and Dale Coyne Racing had the car to where it was comfortable and fun to drive. Each time we went out this weekend, we were quicker. Things really worked out. It was fun to drive today. The run was fairly straightforward. I noticed straightaway that I had more push than I was expecting. I kept playing with the roll bars and weight jacker to cancel out the understeer. It usually gets worse lap after lap, and I was canceling that out with my adjustments. The more laps in the car, the more I enjoy this place and you appreciate what it's about. Every time I came out of the corners, I had a big grin on may face. Now is the time to begin getting ready for the race, to get everything as perfect as we can and go do some race setups with full (fuel) tanks and long runs."

HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 27 Formula Dream, 16th): "I'm glad to be done qualifying and to get the chance to work on race setup. The track today was much calmer than yesterday and we were able to run some practice laps later in the day. The car felt good, and I'm looking forward to the chance to work on making chances and finding an even better car for the race."

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Menards/Vision Racing, 17th): "I'm happy to be qualified finally. It's such a stressful process, and my stomach gets all knotted up. I'm just happy to be in the race for Menards, Johns Manville, Lilly and William Rast, who support our efforts every day. Of course I would have liked to be sitting 11th or 12th, but at the end of the day just getting in the show really is enough. I was more upset yesterday than I am today, and I'm starting a little further back, so it's all relative and amazing what a difference a day can make. I think today was much better conditions for qualifying, not as windy, nice cool temperature, sunny and the humidity is down, motors are running better, conditions that favor quicker times for us. Out of Turn 2, the car was kind of taking off, and I ran a little higher than I'd like, but it was a combination of being light on downforce, not having much grip left on the table, just a little wind blowing the car out of Turn 2."

DAN WHELDON (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing, 18th): "It's been difficult, so far. We have an imbalance in the car, and certainly, the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing team did a good job to get the car back together after yesterday. But we're just missing a little bit. By the same token, I think if we work hard, we can hopefully fix it. The team is certainly good enough to do that. It's just made for a very challenging opening few days. Obviously, with the problem that we have, having less downforce for a qualifying trim kind of accentuates that. But if you're going to win this race, you have to feel like you have a very good balance and you feel 100 percent comfortable in the car." (Do you feel you have a car capable of winning the race?): "Not right now, but that's what this month is all about. It's a very challenging month, and there's a lot of highs and lows. That's what Indianapolis is all about. It's a tough month, and it can be very hard. But it can also be very rewarding." (Adversity only makes you stronger, right?): "I feel like I'm getting very strong this year. I prefer to be weaker and not worry about these points. But, you know, it's just part of it. We're going to continue to work harder. This team is certainly good enough to figure it out. It just hasn't gone our way so far. That's not to say that it's not going to go our way, by any stretch."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply/Foyt-Greer Racing, 19th): "Since we got here, we knew we had a solid car. We knew it was going to be tough to get into the top 11, but we really knew we had a solid car and especially a solid race car. We figured we'd keep on trimming (out) and get the speed. You know, it didn't come as easy as expected today to get in (the field). Obviously, the No. 14 car is really stout; Vitor (Meira). That shows that the car's good and the setup's good, but we just go to find it. We were scrambling down there to find it. You start getting close to 5 o'clock, and everything starts turning into a rush. But we found it - that's the big thing." (What went through your mind during the last couple of hours as you sit and wonder if you will have time to get out there?): "I was so nervous and so stressed out. You know, I haven't ate nothing all day, and it feels like I just got out of the Golden Corral eating a big buffet. My stomach was in such a knot. I'm just thrilled to be in the ABC A.J. Foyt car here in the Indy 500 again."

SCOTT SHARP (No. 16 Tequila Patron Panther Racing, 20th): "Wow. It's been a tough week, let me tell you. I mean, it's not supposed to be this tough I thought. With all my experience, I guess leaning on that I figured I'd come back in and pretty easily, and I did early, pretty easily get up to speed and pretty much thought, I didn't know, obviously, if we'd be a first or second row contender, but thought if maybe things really fell into place we would be, but certainly a top 10 car no problem. And just, obviously had a few things go wrong that led to our crash the other day. The team did an amazing recovery. The Panther guys, I can't say enough about them. A few of the guys pulled all night Thursday night to get that done. And then Dan (Wheldon) of course had his crash, so it's been really tough, but they've rebounded and never missed a blink. So yeah, today we pulled out, and it just seemed like we were really chasing a bit of speed and got a fair amount of wing out of the car and still couldn't really get a lot of speed out of the car. We'd make a couple of runs in practice with no one in front of us with no tows and run a good enough speed to get into the field and then go do it for ourselves with no one in a qualifying run and couldn't get the number, so it was very strange. And then I really thought at the last bit we were done, because we made a change to the car at that point where we were down to our final draw. We laid the wing down some more, pulled up into the tech line. I lost my radio. I don't know why, but I couldn't hear anything anymore. I saw four guys in front of me, and I looked at my watch and it said six minutes to go and I said, 'That's it. It's over,' and then all of the sudden, just boom, boom, boom. You know, the guys that aren't going to make a run, or if you're not fast enough to take up a lot of track time, they got them off or got them out of the way and all of the sudden it was fire it up and go."

SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing, 21st): "The first run was a little hairy. We just had to readjust some things from our first attempt and put in a solid run in our second time around. We were a little quicker than we were all week today, by ourselves, so I was really happy with that. We would have liked to have qualified Saturday, but with the weather and needing to make readjustments to the car, it just wasn't in the cards. Boy, that first run really woke me up; obviously I didn't have enough coffee this morning. The car just had too much push in it and wouldn't take the extra speed going into Turn 1, with the wind. We then went back to our pit to make sure the car would tolerate that extra entry speed." (About the team): "I had yet to be in the right place at the right time for 10 years, and we are so lucky to have Dollar General by our side this year. A lot of people put their lives on the line to start a business and we were no exception. My husband, Andy, and I were committed to starting this team even though we didn't really have the means to do it.  Dollar General saw us struggling and stepped in and saved us."

DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 44 Hewlett Packard, 22nd): "The car is great. We were just a little bit off pace. We were a little bit slow, but as long as we're in this race today is the most important thing. Yesterday we went out early, and with the wind, it just wasn't good. We made a lot of changes and came back out and did a 222.2, and I thought at that point a 221 would get us in, so I thought, 'Let's go put it in line.' By the time we got out there, all those guys were challenging their own times, were so far in front of us, we just didn't get a chance at it. Not saying we would have made it, but we would have at least gave it a shot. The car was pretty easy to drive. We had some understeer, and that scuffed some speed off, but yesterday was the day for the front row. The most important thing is that we are in today." (On doing an Indy-only effort): "It's very difficult to do a one-month program and be competitive. I mean, these guys are in the car week in and week out with engineers and the crew. It's hard to get down here just once a year. It's just tough, but I keep taking that challenge as long as I keep making it in. This race right here is what made me get healthy again and get strong from my injuries. I wanted to get back in a race car, and if it wasn't for this particular race, I don't know if I would have had the drive, so this is everything for me."

E.J. VISO (No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing, bumped): "There was a lot of drama going on, and things obviously didn't end up as we all wanted. But we knew that being in the 21st, 22nd position is a very vulnerable position and anything could happen. And it happened just in the last minute, and that's a sad thing because we didn't have time to go back out and defend ourselves."

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 21 Vision Racing, DNQ): "Of course I'm very disappointed. The whole team is. Both of Vision's 21 and 20 engineers are working together, and that's been a great help. There have been some improvements that way, but we don't know what's going on. We have similar settings, but there's a mile-and-a-half-an-hour speed difference. We'll look at the data over again and try to understand more over the next three days, but we need an answer."

MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, bumped): "We did qualify this morning, but we decided not to go back out. We didn't want to risk it, and we felt that we needed more time in the car to get it up to speed. It was too short of a time to make the car faster, and we feel we will be more prepared for next week."

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 34 Conquest Racing, DNQ): "I'm disappointed, but I guess that's just one of those deals. When you have an accident early in the morning like this especially on a qualifying day you don't have overnight to repair the car. The crew did just absolutely amazing, just thrashing to do everything they can to rebuild that car. To just get us out there in the fashion we did, just making sure the car was solid, was actually really good professional work. Our second lap on the screen was 221, but it was too late. I needed to do that first lap out. I really wanted to feel like the low trim car again, just make sure everything was fine. And, when I thought it was fine it was just too late."

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 02 McDonald's Racing Team): "We were just hoping for a smooth day of practice for the McDonald's team, and it was going good, but with John's (Andretti) incident there at the end we decided to call it a day. I just had to react as quickly as I could. When I was told the yellow came out, I was going to go high then I saw the debris. Stuff was flying everywhere. The car basically exploded when he hit. So I tried to go to the high side and right. When I went to the high side, he started to roll backwards into my path, and I was going to t-bone him basically so I turned hard left and hit the brakes as hard as I could, and it locked up the rears as I did, and that's why I spun. More than anything, I was just lucky that I could keep it off both the inside and outside walls. Keeping it off the inside wall was just luck because I took my hands off the wheel. It was only a half of a second after it happened before I got to the scene, and we're just lucky it wasn't uglier than it is. The car is OK. I think I hit one of his tire ramps with my left front suspension and bent it, but we saved all the big stuff. The only reason we couldn't drive it back is because the right side tires were flat, but I'll happily take that. It's better than putting the McDonald's car in the wall."

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           The 2009 IndyCar Series season continues May 24 with the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The radio broadcast also will be carried on indycar.com. The 2009 Firestone Indy Lights season continues May 22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast May 22 by VERSUS as part of its Carb Day coverage from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (EDT).


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