Still Somewhat Sunny At NOLA…For Now

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Believe me, I’m not bashing those that make their living as weather prognosticators, but so far they have thankfully missed it today. This morning, you would have thought that we would be wading in water to our ankles based on what we were reading. I wouldn’t call this a clear blue sky. It’s more what I would call a very bright overcast. From what we had been warned about, I’ll take it.

The concession area here is called “The Taste of Louisiana” and features a lot of local cuisine junk-food, like crawfish rolls, gumbo and beignets from Cafe du Monde. Of course, for those that don’t care for this fare as much as I do – there are still burgers and chicken strips.

There is a lot of space here…almost too much space. We’ve walked a lot and I’m not too big on exercise. To say that parking is at a premium here is an understatement. There is no on-site parking at all for the general public. They have to park off-site and be shuttled in. I’ve heard complaints and I think that they probably fall under the category of “growing pains”. Andretti Sports Marketing has done an outstanding job with this event. Something tells me that they will get this right next year.

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One other thing that I found curious…tucked far away, behind the Family Fan Zone, which featured all of the usual IndyCar Merchandise, were three booths selling merchandise for Rahal, Ganassi and CFH Racing. We would not have even found them had we not run into long-time reader and commenter “Billy the Skink” and his dad. They told us where we could find them because Susan had mentioned to them that she wanted a Josef Newgarden T-shirt. For the tip, Susan wanted to take their picture with yours truly and post it here. If you look way off in the distance in the next photo, you can see the booths stuck off by themselves – just next to the Port-a-Potties.

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Speaking of merchandise, I was very happy to see that the Official IndyCar Trackside Merchandise tent had lots of Verizon logo merchandise. If you’ll recall, this was a problem last year, but they have plenty of everything now – should anyone care about such stuff as I do.

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For the IndyCar practice, we wandered to the far side of the track where we could see the cars coming out of Turn Eleven and setting up for Turn Twelve. Unfortunately, all I had with me for a camera was my phone. I had left my real camera sitting in the media center, where it could do me no good at all. I tried a few shots, but this picture of Scott Dixon was about as good as I could do. Although it has a fence post in the middle, you do get to see the Ferris Wheel in the background. No, we haven’t ridden it yet.

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Susan was kind enough to take a picture as I was frustrated while trying to tweet with very poor reception on my AT&T phone. Verizon has towers around the track and their customers have flawless service. For several reasons, I’m trapped into staying with AT&T – but seeing what my friends with Verizon had at the track was enough to (almost) justify a switch.

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As far as the practice went, Scott Dixon led the way with a time of 1:18.553, which topped Tony Kanaan’s time from yesterday by three-tenths of a second. Simon Pagenaud was second. Surprisingly, rookie Gabby Chaves was third in his Bryan Herta Autosport Honda. Will Power and rookie Sage Karam rounded out the Top-Five. Carlos Muñoz, at sixth, was the only other Honda in the Top Ten. This is now becoming a pattern. Something tells me that Honda is probably praying for rain in qualifying and in tomorrow’s race. That’s about the only thing that will slow down the Chevys.

Speaking of rain, it is now sprinkling here and the radar is suddenly looking ominous. As  type, we are less than an hour from qualifying. Honda may get their wish, after all.

As always, follow me on Twitter at @Oilpressureblog and Susan at @MrsOilpressure for updates and photos. Please check back later as I’ll have a follow up after qualifying.

George Phillips

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