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Weeping Race Track Cancels Practice, Qualifying in Kentucky

July 31, 2009

Photo courtesy of IMS Photo



SPARTA, Ken. - Qualifying and practice were canceled Friday at Kentucky Speedway, meaning Penske Racing drivers will start third, fourth and 20th in Saturday's Meijer Indy 300.

Though it was sunny and warm throughout the day, qualifying was delayed and later canceled because of water seeping up from the track, commonly referred to as "weepers." Heavy rains hit the area over the last few days to create the issue with the racing surface. Track activity is scheduled to resume Saturday with the Indy cars practicing from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and the race scheduled to begin at 8:45 p.m. ET.

With qualifying canceled, the cars will line up according to entrant points. That means Ryan Briscoe will start third in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, while Helio Castroneves will start fourth in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda.

Will Power, who has only competed in five events for the team this season but won last Sunday's race at Edmonton, will start 20th in the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dallara/Honda.

While the weepers were the concern of the day, they weren't the only news. The IndyCar Series announced its 2010 race schedule, which will feature a season opener in Castroneves' home country of Brazil and a new venue - Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.

"Of course I'm happy to be returning to Brazil," said Castroneves. "It will be great to race in front of so many of my friends and family. Birmingham is another great addition to the schedule; it's a great facility and when we tested there earlier this season we got a lot of support from both the fans and the media, so it will be exciting to go back and race."

The league also is set to try out new specifications designed to improve racing action this weekend. The changes include aerodynamic alterations and a new push-to-pass technology that will allow the drivers to press a button to get additional bursts of horsepower.

"I think the rule changes are very positive for the IndyCar Series," said Briscoe. "The new aero package should give us faster speeds, and hopefully it will allow us to race a bit better as well. The push-to-pass button is a great idea, and hopefully they'll make it even more powerful in the future. It should also bring a lot of strategy into play as far as when to use it during the race. Especially on an oval, the push-to-pass button should be a big factor in the final results."

Power is looking forward to putting the new racing enhancements to the test on Saturday. "I know they will be working on the track tonight and in the morning so we will be ready to go for practice and then the race," said Power. "With the changes the series has made to the cars beginning this weekend, I think it's deinitely going to make for some more exciting racing and a better show for the fans."

Saturday night's race will be televised live on Versus with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET.