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Indy 500: Drivers forced to chill out on Tuesday

"This weather has been a factor here at the Speedway, and even though I would rather be out on the track, it is really special just coming to the track every day," said Briscoe. "The fans are amazing. The fact that they show up in this damp, cold weather really shows how dedicated they are."

The most popular driver with fans was Helio Castroneves, one of IndyCar's biggest names thanks to his winning turn on reality show Dancing with the Stars in 2007. "Man, it's tough just sitting and not having a chance to run, especially at this place because it's so awesome."

Among the distractions on offer was the sight of several teams practicing for the final round of qualifying for the IZOD Indy 500 Pit Stop Challenge. Nine teams will be going head-to-head on Wednesday morning to win one of the remaining three slots in the finals, which are held on "Carb Day" - the Friday before the Indy 500. As well as team pride, there's a very nice cash prize for the winning team: last year Team Penske and Helio Castroneves earned $50,000 by winning the Challenge for a second consecutive year, while runners-up Hideki Mutoh and Newman/Haas earned $15,000.

Among the team/driver combinations practicing today were: Penske/Castroneves; Andretti Autosport with Conway, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Danica Patrick; and KV Racing Technology with EJ Viso, Tony Kanaan and Tomas Scheckter - who had time during the stop to take a drivers-eye snap of proceedings for his Twitter followers. Nine other team/driver combinations have already qualified during IndyCar events in the past year.

Over in the Sam Schmidt Motorsports camp, Alex Tagliani could at least take comfort in having the fastest time in the books of anyone so far this week at Indy. "We did two good runs yesterday with a change in between, it was valuable to have some data for today and to look back at last year's data and evaluate it," he said. "It's nice to see that our car is up to pace and we're on top of the chart so far for the week."

Tagliani pointed out that knowing he had a fast car took the pressure off: "If you don't need to run very much, and your car is already right there, it's a relief for everyone on the team.

"The teams that are very concerned are the teams that have a plan to run many, many miles. The weather, obviously, makes them very frustrated and disappointed because it interferes with their plan."

Down in 25th place in the combined timesheets for the sessions so far, his Sam Schmidt stablemate Townsend Bell isn't faring as well as Tagliani but he's still breathing a lot easier now having finally been able to put some times in on Monday.

"It's a lot easier [not getting to run today] than Sunday, since I didn't get to run on Saturday. It's tough when you haven't run yet and it rains," he said. "At least we got some decent laps yesterday, and we know our cars are very strong. I'm quite a bit more at ease than I was on Sunday."

The forecast for tomorrow is warmer - with temperatures looking set to climb into the upper 60s (19C) but unfortunately still with a 40% chance of rain during the day, much as it was on Tuesday, so it may be another frustrating day for drivers, teams and fans alike on Wednesday.


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Related Pictures

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Helio Castroneves poses for photos with fans in Gasoline Alley at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after poor weather halts practice on Tuesday, May 17. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
A KV Racing Technology crew member works on the #82 of Tony Kanaan, as poor weather at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway halts practice on Tuesday, May 17. [Picture credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media]
Mike Conway and his team boss Michael Andretti huddle up in pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after poor weather halts practice on Tuesday, May 17. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Tomas Scheckter sits in the #07 for pit stop challenge practice in pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after poor weather halts practice on Tuesday, May 17. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Will Power and Carlos Munoz flank winner Mike Conway during their victory lap (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrating his victory (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Carlos Munoz, Mike Conway and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway in action in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway poses for pictures after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway poses for pictures after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and team boss Ed Carpenter pose for pictures after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates with champagne after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates with champagne after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway poses for pictures with the team from Ed Carpenter Racing after victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrates pole position in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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