Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Changes To Month Of May

UPDATE: In response to a question about the possibility of a choice of a shorter engine lease program for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, Honda says that they were unaware of the Month of May Schedule change until yesterday. They say that it's to early to tell what the engine programs will look like for the 94th Indianapolis 500.
The economy has struck again. Last year the Month of May schedule was cut by 2 days, but this year they are making much bigger changes.

There will be 12 days of on track activity beginning on Saturday, May 15 with practice for all drivers. Practice will then continue through Fast Friday, May 21. Pole day will then follow on May 22 with bump day on Sunday, May 23.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will remain dormant for the next 2 days, before Community day on Wednesday, May 27 and track activity picks up again Thursday, May 27 with Firestone Indy Lights Practice. Carb Day will remain on the Friday before Race day with the same schedule, FIL Race, IZOD IndyCar Series final practice and other festivities.

IMS will also hold a Centennial Era Balloon Festival on Saturday May, 8 and Sunday May, 9 for the second consecutive year.

In the end, there is a loss of 2 quaifiaction days but the addition of a practice day compared to May 2009, a net loss of just 1 day of on track activities.

“We’re pleased with the schedule because it provides fans plenty of opportunities to enjoy the excitement of a day at the Speedway while being responsive to the requests of our race teams,” officer. “We look forward to another memorable month of May in Indianapolis.” -Jeff Belskus, IMS President and CEO

"I commend Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series officials for this change to the month of May schedule. It will reduce costs for teams on several fronts and provide continuous activity as we build momentum from Opening Day through race weekend. We look forward to the traditional battle on Pole Day and defending our 2009 race victory." -Roger Penske

“From a competition standpoint, the new Indy 500 schedule will further enhance the drama of qualifications for both the competitors and fans. By setting the 33-car grid on one weekend, there’s no room for mistakes by the teams and drivers. The pressure will be on to deliver over the 10 miles regardless of the weather and track conditions.” -Brian Barnhart


Personally, I am a "traditionalist", and I like the classic format of the Month of May...but it is also true that we are in a difficult economic situation...in this particular context, the second and third day of qualifications, which are certainly much less exciting then Pole Day and Bump Day, can be sacrificed on the altar of "shake a little belt" and then restore them when the economic situation will get better (as did a decade ago)...and then we will be losing a single day of track activity...

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