Indy 500 Pole Day Cliff Notes

I don’t think most fans completely understand the new qualifying format for Indy 500 Pole Day. To be honest, not many teams and drivers totally understand it either. But it should be interesting and hopefully fun on Saturday.

I don’t think most fans completely understand the new qualifying format for Indy 500 Pole Day. To be honest, not many teams and drivers totally understand it either. But it should be interesting and hopefully fun on Saturday.

First of all, qualifying starts at 11:00 am. Each car can make up to 3 qualifying attempts until 4:00 pm. The Fast 9 move on to a pole shootout from 4:30 – 6:00 pm. The speeds are thrown out and each driver must requalify for the pole. Drivers can make two attempts.

But here’s an important subplot to the first qualifying session. The fastest car at 4:00 pm wins a very important first choice: pit selection. Pit selection might be more important to winning the race than starting position. So teams and drivers will be pushing just as hard for the top spot in the first session as the late afternoon shootout.

How many qualifying attempts cars will make is hard to say. There are several prizes to run for Saturday. The provisional pole in session one, plus the fast 9, and the 24 spots available on the first day of qualifying. How important are each of those prizes? And then comes the shootout. The fastest driver going in gets to pick when he wants to run in the shootout. Weather might be a factor on when a driver wants to go.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. But no matter what happens, anyone other than Helio Castroneves on the pole will be an upset. 

-Rich Nye, WTHR Sports Reporter

TheSportsGuy13 on Twitter

Bike to Work: Point Counterpoint!

It’s Bike to Work Day. That may mean nothing to you, or, for the teeny tiny minority of central Indiana residents who ride their bike to work, that may mean a small sense of validation for a lifestyle decision for which we are marginalized and ridiculed by the SUV-driving cycnical masses.

It’s Bike to Work Day. That may mean nothing to you, or, for the teeny tiny minority of central Indiana residents who ride their bike to work, that may mean a small sense of validation for a lifestyle decision for which we are marginalized and ridiculed by the SUV-driving cycnical masses.

CityBeat reporter Mary Milz and web content manager Sara Galer put together a “point counterpoint” list of reasons why we bike to work. Or not, as the case may be.

Here’s Mary:

Why I don’t bike to work.

I work out regularly. I run, swim and during the summer months, I bike, but I don’t bike to work. I feel mildly guilty about that but I have a litany of excuses that I rattle off to my colleague Sara Galer, who rides religiously. Here are my reasons why I DON’T bike to work.

1) I have to go to bed and wake up early to accommodate the extra 25 minutes it would take to get to work. I treasure my zzzzzz’s

2) I can’t fit everything I need for the day in a backpack – make-up, hair dryer, shoes, clothes, towel, toiletries, etc (that’s not to mention getting a suit to work without crumpling it up in a ball of wrinkles.)

3) That means pre-planning – bringing everything to work a day or two before. Heck, I can’t even get my lunch packed the night before!

4) The shower thing – we have one at work, which is great but it’s like a shower you’d find on a small sailboat… Plus I’d have to wait in line for Sara and other colleagues who occassionally ride in.

5) I carry extra gear in my car – hats, gloves, boots, jeans, etc. Just in case I’m sent to cover, say flooding.

6) What if I need to meet someone for lunch – no wheels. Do I show up in biking clothes?

7) I like the Monon but riding downtown can get a little crazy, especially at rush hour.

8) What if the weather changes? It’s fine on the way in, but what if it starts to pour or storm when I’m ready to leave?

9) And, what if my plans change? I suddenly need to be somewhere after work? What if it’s across town? What if it’s after dark? You’re not supposed to ride the Monon after dusk (and before dawn.)

10) I’m sometimes tired after a long day and still have to get home and get a run or swim in – which brings me back to zzzzzzzz’s.

I admire you Sara – you are my hero, but I just don’t think I have the pedal power in me to ride to work on a regular basis.

My reply:

Okay, let’s just get a few things straight here. I don’t do anything religiously, unless it involves eating some sort of decadent chocolate dessert. However when the weather permits, I do enjoy riding my bike to work as often as possible. I would also like to differentiate my bike riding habits from my husband’s, which verge on the fanatical. He rides in the winter, sometimes in snow, occasionally on ice, which results in elbow injuries that take a long time to heal, and relies on me to drive the car so I can pick him up if the weather is really bad. So I might be crazy, but not THAT crazy.

1) It takes me about 15-20 minutes to drive, or about 40 minutes to cycle. If the wind is with me, it can be as short as 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes longer if I have to stand on the pedals! Although it does probably add a good 40 minutes to my commute, I don’t mind the prep time because being outside and getting exercise at both ends of my day makes it worth it.

2) Since I’m behind the scenes here at WTHR, I don’t have to make myself beautiful like the reporters do. I carry a set of clean clothes, shoes and a towel. My office casual look usually survives the bike ride. Unless I forget to bring pants.

3) I usually pack my bike bag the night before and then make a game-day decision after checking the weather forecast.

4) It’s true we have a shower room at WTHR. It’s also true that it’s a little scary. I use it for those 90+degree days. Otherwise I just air dry, wash my face, apply deodorant and hope for the best. I also sit a good distance away from my colleagues in the mornings, something they’re probably grateful for.

5) Again, not being a roving reporter, I know that most of my day will be in the office. Which makes my time on the bike all the more appreciated.

6) If I have to meet a friend for lunch, I either hop on my bike or make them pick me up at work!

7) I get off the Monon at 14th, then make my way through the old North Side to WTHR at 10th and Meridian. It’s not too treacherous. Come on, Mary, that’s a feeble excuse!

8) I won’t disagree with you here. I’ve occasionally asked colleagues for a ride home due to unpredictable weather. Rain is unpleasant, but thunderstorms are scary. We report the news. We don’t want to BE the news. Like that guy in Goshen who went outside to roll up the windows on his truck, then was struck by lightning. Now he can’t even count to ten.

9) It’s true that taking your bike to work limits what you can do with regards to making plans later in the evening. Fortunately, there are many bars and restaurants not far from the Monon that are within reach, if you are desperate for that post-work beer. It also takes planning to make sure you are not cycling in the dark.

10) If I refrained from exercise every time I felt tired, I would probably never get off the couch! I like the challenge of biking to work. Some days are a good workout, other days I’m just slodging through and cursing the wind, dodging stray dogs and chain-wielding teenagers (it’s a bit like Grand Theft Auto in that respect). But I get to observe things I would never see in a car (a red-winged blackbird on a fence, Lilly volunteers painting a mural on community day, KIBI folks watering the little trees along the side of the Monon), and it’s a fantastic stress reducer. And once I’m home, I’ve already put in about 14 miles for the day!

What Mary didn’t say is that she runs marathons and triathlons….something that I would never have the self-discipline for! So Mary, I think you’re the real athlete. I’m just a wanna-be! (I should also mention that I supplement the bike riding with Crossfit, a GREAT way to get in shape!)

Severe Weather Risk Friday

All of Central Indiana is under a “slight” risk for severe weather Friday.

All of Central Indiana is under a “slight risk” for severe weather today.  There’s a chance for t-storms about mid-morning, but we’ll see a greater chance this afternoon.  The biggest threats from any severe storms that develop will be damaging winds and large hail.  Highs will hit the low 70s.

Tonight, the showers start coming to an end as lows drop to the upper 50s.

Saturday, we may see a few sprinkles to start off the morning, but then we dry out and highs hit close to 80 degrees!

Sunday, get ready for sunshine and the mid 80s!

Mainly dry weather sticks around through next Thursday with highs in the mid 80s.  There might be a slight shower chance on Tuesday, we’ll keep our eyes on it!  Enjoy this nice warm rebound!

Danica give-away on Facebook!

We’re giving away signed Danica Patrick memorabilia all week.

If you haven’t “liked” WTHR on Facebook yet, come on over and show us some love! We’re giving away signed Danica Patrick memorabilia all week.

Here’s how it works: Sports Director Dave Calabro asks a trivia question about Danica at 6:20 pm on Eyewitness News. You can leave your answer in the form of a comment (not a wall post) on the WTHR Facebook page. We pick a random number from the first correct 25 answers.

My humble apologies for some confusion over last night’s question. We asked what Danica’s hometown is…we meant where she grew up, which is Roscoe, Illinois. Some people were confused and thought we meant her place of birth, which is Beloit, Wisconsin.

We’re still pretty new to using Facebook for contests…so bear with us! We are finding it is not an exact science.

Also, whiners will be disqualified! (kidding. really. just kidding.)

Rain Moving Back In

Clouds will be on the increase today, and rain is moving back into the forecast.

Enjoy the sunshine while you can, more clouds will build in Central Indiana today, and rain will move in tonight.  Highs will reach the mid to upper 60s this afternoon.

Tonight rain and thunderstorms are likely as lows drop to the upper 50s.

Friday, more rain and storms.  At this time, we’re not expecting any severe weather.

Saturday looks dry for now.  We may see a few morning rain showers, but it looks like the system will clear out early.  Highs Saturday hit the upper 70s.

For the most part the early part of next week looks dry with highs in the mid 80s.

A Monkey Could Do Your Job!

A new doctor is in town to take on the scientists and meteorologists at NOAA.

As meteorologists we study several weather models and look at a lot of information to put a forecast together.

It’s no secret, but sometimes, the forecast just doesn’t come together, the weather just has a mind of it’s own.

Each year NOAA gives a hurricane forecast.  The scientists try to predict how many named hurricanes we’ll have.  This is done using a lot of data, including, but not limited to what’s happened over the past year, water temps, and historical data.

So, a think tank is taking on NOAA.  They’re put Dr. James Hansimian up against the brains at NOAA.  There’s only one problem, the “doctor” is a chimp!  They say he’s never been wrong, because this is his first prediction.

Click here to see the “doctor” in action.

Sure, sure, poke fun at meteorologists and scientists! 

**Please note, even though this is supposed to be fun, it is sponsored by The National Center For Public Policy Research, a political group.

Pick It Up!

Pick up after your dog! Owners not doing that is causing a big stink in a condo complex, you won’t believe the lengths the complex is going to, to find the naughty owners!

According to Jerry Seinfeld, “Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.”

But some humans aren’t picking up after their four legged friends in Baltimore, and a condo complex is thinking of going “CSI” on dog owners.

It’s an investigation that would make Monk’s stomach turn.  Who left that there! 

Unpicked up piles of poop are causing a big stink in the condo complex, so they’re thinking of taking DNA from all of the dogs in the building, and creating a canine database.  It would initially cost the owners $50.

If piles of doggie-doo are found in the complex, it will be tested, and the dog’s owners will be fined $500.  The condo complex will decide if this proposal will become “law” later this week.

Here’s a link to the story.

People not picking up after their pets is one of my biggest pet peeves!  (Yes, lame pun… but that’s how I feel!)  It’s not sanitary to have piles of poop along the Monon, or in condo complexes!  It’s simple, just pick it up.  Yeah, it’s gross, but it’s even worse to leave it there for everyone to see.  Don’t even get me started on the sanitary issues!

What are your thoughts?

What’s It Worth to You?

Imagine walking into a restaurant, and seeing no prices, that’s exactly what’s happening in on St. Louis suburb.

Has this ever happened to you, you order breakfast at Panera, and the cashier never tells you how much your meal costs, you’re just asked to make a donation?

Chances are, it hasn’t but if you live in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, it’s just business as usual. 

Panera Bread has opened it’s first non-profit store.  Customers are just asked to make a donation for their meals.  Whether it’s a penny, or $100, or the usual cost of the goods.  If the store can sustain itself, Panera will expand the idea across the country.  Here’s the moto that hangs above the counter:  “Take what you need, leave your fair share.”  Simple enough concept, right?

The “cashier” doesn’t even handle cash, your “payment” is put directly into a donation jar.

The company believes the everything will even out in the long run.

Click here to read the full article on this concept.

I think this is an amazing idea.  What a cool way to form a community atmosphere in the neighborhood.

What do you think about this?  Will it work?  Please leave your comments in the section below.

Finally, Improvement!

Sick of the rain, drizzle, and clouds? Here’s a forecast that’s “looking up.”

After the drizzle departs this morning, we’ll see a mix of sun and clouds with highs in the mid to upper 60s.

Tonight, dry with partly cloudy skies and lows in the low 50s.

Here’s where the forecast improves… drum roll please… sunshine and 70s for Thursday.

Okay, now the letdown, late Thursday night into Friday scattered showers and thunderstorms move in, and stick around for Friday.  Highs will drop back into the 60s.

Saturday, a chance for showers and storms remains in the forecast as highs hit the upper 70s.

Sunday, the 80s with partly cloudy skies!

It looks like a warmer and drier pattern is setting up across Central Indiana next week.