Indy Japan 300 Postponed
April 19, 2008 | 1:28 A.M. EST
The weepers - water emanating through the asphalt surface from the soaked ground underneath - were created by about 2.3 inches of rain that fell at the track over the previous 30 hours. Rain stopped early in the morning, and track workers with Delphi Safety Team personnel worked for more than seven hours in an attempt to stem the flow from multiple locations.
Brian Barnhart, president of the competition and operations divisions of the sanctioning Indy Racing League and the race's chief steward, twice consulted drivers regarding the safety of the racing surface before asking Mutoh and Roger Yasukawa to address the crowd.
"We never got a situation where the racetrack was presentable and safe to race on," Barnhart said. "The drivers would not have been comfortable and been in a position to where we could have done anything today. We had about three spots we were working on: the acceleration lane coming out of the pits in Turn 2, the deceleration lane going into the pits in (Turn) 3 and then a large section of the racetrack in Turn 4."
Track officials continued to work on the affected areas throughout the afternoon and into the evening, sucking water out of holes drilled into the asphalt to relieve pressure. The forecast is for improving weather conditions, and the sanctioning body built in the rain date into its schedule.
Rain had canceled qualifications for the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award, which gave Helio Castroneves the pole start based on entrant points. It's the third year in a row that he'll start from the pole in the No. 3 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Under similar weather circumstances in '06, Castroneves was awarded the pole based on entrant points. He led 184 laps en route to the 6.3-second victory over Dan Wheldon.
The rescheduled race will be televised on ESPN Classic.