Poor forecast scratches Rookie Orientation at Indy

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A Thursday forecast that calls for poor weather conditions in the Indianapolis area has forced IndyCar to cancel that day’s Rookie Orientation Program at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. According to Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star, no make-up date has been given as of now.

“We have been monitoring the weather reports in Indianapolis to make sure the conditions would be suitable for ample on-track activity,” INDYCAR president of operations and strategy Brian Barnhart said to IndyCar.com. “With the strong chance for rain and the lower ambient temperatures, we felt it was best to postpone our Rookie Orientation Program until a later date.”

NBC affiliate WTHR-TV in Indianapolis expects temperatures to only climb into the high 50s on Thursday, which also features a chance for scattered storms.

A.J. Allmendinger, Tristan Vautier, Conor Daly and Carlos Munoz are slated to take part in the exercises, which are mandatory for all first-time Indianapolis 500 racers. The ROP consists of three speed phases that must be passed: 10 laps at 200-205 miles per hour, another 10 laps at 205-209 miles per hour, and 15 laps at 210+ miles per hour.

Rookies are required to complete the first two phases on the designated ROP day, but can complete the final phase during the first week of “500” practice as long as it’s done before Pole Day on May 18.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.