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Indy Drivers Allowed Practice Session; Weather Better as Sun Finally Shows

May 28, 1986|Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — In an effort to place more rubber on the washed-out track and give drivers warmup time, officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has scheduled a practice period Friday for the 33 starters in Saturday's rescheduled Indianapolis 500.

The announcement Tuesday said the 30-minute session will be conducted under a caution flag and with a speed limit of 100 to 120 m.p.h. The cars will be allowed to pass as long as they stay under the limit.

Meanwhile, the sun finally shined on the speedway Tuesday afternoon. There is a 40% chance of showers today, but the weather is expected to improve for the race, which was rained out Sunday and Monday. The extended forecast for Saturday is good, with partly sunny skies.

Pole-sitter Rick Mears criticized the decision to have a practice. "The track is going to be no different than it would have been Sunday or Monday," Mears said. "It's just a better chance for mechanical problems. It could be a dangerous situation."

Before the announcement, driver Bobby Rahal said: "I think it would be smart on their part to have a bit of a warmup session, just to give everybody a chance to remember what it's like to drive around here at 200 and some odd miles an hour. Not just put us in here cold."

The last time any of the drivers were on the 2 1/2-mile oval in their race cars was last Thursday during the two-hour "carburetion testing" session.

Another concern of race officials was that the rain washed most of the rubber off the track, thus decreasing traction. A practice session, even at slower speeds, will put down some rubber.

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