"All dressed up and no place to go" rather summed up Indianapolis Motor Speedway as it opened for business on the first day of practice for the Indianapolis 500, less than 18 hours after the conclusion of the dramatic inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis road race.

When the green flag came out, there was only one car in pit lane and no cars waiting to go out on track despite inviting conditions boasting a mixture of blue skies and white clouds, with temperatures in the mid seventies albeit with a strong breeze.

Finally at 12:35pm rookie Sage Karam took to the track for a lap in the #22 Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing car. He ran 20 laps, completing his Rookie Orientation Program, and was cleared to run the Indy 500 program. Karam was followed by Penske's Helio Castroneves who ran a lap. Both cars are easy to spot on track: Karam's is a variation of neon yellow, and Castroneves' is the iconic Yellow Submarine Pennzoil livery unveiled earlier in the week.

One of the drivers expected at IMS on Sunday was NASCAR Sprint Cup star Kurt Busch who will be driving the #26 Andretti Autosport entry. Busch didn't have such a great Saturday night at the 5-hour Energy 400 Cup race at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night: while he started from sixth place and ran as high as fourth, he fought an ill-handling car all race and finished a disappointed 29th after spinning twice. Let's hope that doesn't happen two weeks from now at Indy.

Busch is one of 33 confirmed entries for this year's Indy 500, plus 31 T (alternate) cars. Those with no alternates are James Davison or Buddy Lazier, so if they wreck their cars beyond repair then they'll be out of the running.

In the former case, the deal to race at Indy just came together within the last seven days, although Davison had been working with KV Racing Technology for the past fortnight. IndyCar assisted with sponsorship form Always Evolving Racing but it's still a shoestring operation which means Davison will be on the 'short' program - or in other words, he won't start running the car until Thursday, with Davison explaining that the engine and tyres alone run $120,000.

Davison said he had some help putting the deal together from the late Roger Rotas who was killed in tragic road accident with actor Paul Walker. Rotas' partners have continued on with Davison, who added that even if there were sponsorship enough to run the full program, the car wouldn't be ready. The team only picked it up a few days ago in Chicago, and it i in fact the Panther Racing from last year's Indy 500. It is being 'built' Tuesday and Wednesday.

Davison expects to complete his Rookie Orientation Program on Thursday morning at 9am, when the track is otherwise closed to competitors. He thinks he can do the whole programme in the three allotted hours with help from race engineer Kyle Brannan, the team manager is Simon Hodgson, and spotter.driver mentor Buddy Rice as his spotter.

Having three team mates will help him capitalise on the team's resources. Davison said teammate Townsend Bell told him "it's like an airplane. and that "pushing is to be done ... in time, but first, there's speed, precision, respect, edge, concentration and focus."

Davison hopes to have six days on track before qualifying. but isn't planning on pushing too hard for a high grid position: "there are only 33 cars in the field, so I'm going to use my head and run the race with a level head."

He added that his goals are to finish the race, finish in the top fifteen, and that a finish in the top ten would be fantastic. A long-term goal would be to build sufficient primary sponsorship for a full IndyCar season, after he made his d?but in two races for Dale Coyne Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Sonoma in 2013.

At the present time, Davison is contracted to run a TRG Aston Martin in a full GT Daytona program with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. He currently is twenty-third in the standings, just one position ahead of fellow IndyCar rookie, Mikhail Aleshin who ran in the Daytona 24 hour endurance race.

Another full season TUDOR GTD contracted driver is Townsend Bell, who is running his annual one-off race in IndyCar as Davison's team mate with KV Racing Technology. Bell will be driving #6 car with sponsorship once again from Robert Graham. He made a splash unveiling an eye-catching livery for the car on Saturday in Gasoline Alley. Never one to be understated, even the tool boxes are rather colourful. Watch out for it - although chances are, you won't be able to miss it!

By Lynne Huntting, PressSnoop.com



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