Edmonton Opening Day Rained Out
July 22, 2011 | 7:32 P.M. EST
Rain was the only winner Friday in Edmonton, Alberta. (IZOD IndyCar Series Photo)
Vitor Meira got in three laps on the new City Centre Airport circuit, though it was in a golf cart.
That doesn't count in helping Meira and 25 other IZOD IndyCar Series competitors learn the 2.24-mile, 13-turn course. With persistent rain washing out two practice sessions -- northern Alberta being one of the few places in North America where it wasn't bone dry and feeling like being inside a convection oven -- it will be a crash course so to speak July 23.
The schedule (all times local; add two hours for Eastern time):
• 8:55-9:25 a.m.: Firestone Indy Lights practice.
• 9:40-10:25 a.m.: IZOD IndyCar Series practice (first-round qualifying groups determined after session)
• 10:40-11:15 a.m.: Firestone Indy Lights Sunoco Pole qualifying.
• 11:25-12:10 a.m.: IZOD IndyCar Series practice.
• 1:45 p.m.: Firestone Indy Lights Race 1 (50 laps).
The three rounds of qualifying for the PEAK Performance Pole Award is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
"If this happened at any other street course or road course (other than Baltimore), we know the track and we know what we should do," said Meira, driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing who is coming off a top-five finish in the Honda Indy Toronto. "The one consolation is that it is the same for everybody.
"At the beginning (of track time), we have to forget a little bit about the details and worry about the big things and try to catch up fast. That is going to be our own race -- how fast we can we can learn the track and what the car needs."
Turn 1 -- a hard left-hander after a long straight -- will be among the most challenging to master even without the extra session.
"There are three very heavy braking zones from long straights," series' championship points leader Dario Franchitti said. "I think it will be racy and tough on brakes, actually. Turn 1 is wide and then it narrows up very quickly. I think part of the thing that's been talked about are the lines on either side of track are not out of bounds. You can go all kinds of places, but you have to remember it narrows up very much in the middle of Turn 1. Hopefully, we all control ourselves."
Spectators made the most of the day, converging on drivers for autograph and photographs, mingling with Holmatro Safety Team and Firestone personnel, and generally waiting for any on-track activity.
"You see the fans walking around, and we have somewhere dry to sit and hang out and the fans are walking around getting rained on," said Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. "It's frustrating for us, but it's doubly frustrating for the fans. I felt a lot worse for those guys than for us."