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INDY 500 UPDATE: Rains cause delay at the 84th Indianapolis 500

28 May 2000

By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel

INDIANAPOLIS (12:00 Noon ET): Even though there is not a single Chevrolet entered in the 84th Indy 500, the popular American auto manufacturer holds the top 33 spots in field. Rains fell at Indianapolis at 10:15 a.m., drenching the famous two and a half mile oval. Official Speedway trucks (made by Chevrolet) are circling the track in effort to speed up the drying process.

Jet driers are also on the race course. The race, which was scheduled to start at noon ET, will be delayed by two hours minimum. The rain stopped just before noon ET.

While the fans at the Speedway pass the time shopping or having more beverage(s), many of the drivers have churning stomachs. Some of them have been waiting for this day all their lives. Others have seen many race days exactly like this. Some snooze . . . some pace.

Andy Hillenburg was visibly anxious as the drivers headed to the green room beneath the new pagoda building at the start-finish line. This will be Hillenburgs first run at Indy. He was in tears last Sunday after qualifying for his first Indianapolis 500.

I have been coming here since I was a little boy, said Hillenburg. This is a dream come true.

Veteran crew chief Owen Snyder takes it all with a matter-of-fact attitude. The 19 year Indy veteran has seen it all at Indy, including victory lane with Eddie Cheever in 1998 and Al Unser Jr. in 1992. Snyder made time to talk about honors received over the past week when he was voted the top mechanic at Indy.

The Premier/D-A Mechanical Achievement Award is the oldest and most prestigious chief mechanic award at Indy. More impressively, the current crew chiefs at the 500' are the voters for the award.

One of the things that I appreciate the most is that the award is voted on by my peers, noted Snyder. The other thing that I appreciate is the prestige of the award. With so may traditions being changed or broken, its nice that Premier has continued this award for so many years.

One tradition that hasnt changed at the Indianapolis 500 is the roller-coaster feelings of highs/lows caused by weather. The wild ride of gut-wrenching emotions continues.

Further updates will be posted throughout the day.

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery