Ohio State students prepare ’90s Indy car for vintage race at IMS

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Some internships are not always the most exciting. But a group of Ohio State University students certainly aren’t having that problem.

Eight of them are helping to prepare a 1997 Chevrolet-powered Reynard Champ Car for racing in next month’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More than 10 different classes of cars – from NASCAR stock cars to former Indianapolis 500 and Formula One machines – will compete in the vintage weekend.

Per a feature from The Columbus Dispatch (which also features a neat time-lapse video of the car being put together), the group – known as the Genius Garage Racing Team – is led by an OSU graduate, 32-year-old Casey Putsch.

It is Putsch, a restoration shop owner, that will race the car at IMS during the vintage weekend in a 35-minute sprint race on the road course.

While the students do not receive pay or course credit for their work with Putsch, they believe that the hands-on experience will be attractive on their resume as they pursue jobs.

“All of them really look for independence and being able to work and complete a project,” 19-year-old junior and team member Mahesh Chigurupati told the Dispatch’s Collin Brinkley. “And I just was really, really interested in learning more about this.”

Another interesting aspect is that each student on the team has been assigned to work on a specific part of the car. For example, Chigurupati has designed a new radiator and installed new brakes on the Reynard, Brinkley writes.

The team is expected to fire up the car for the first time later this week, and Putsch believes that their work will pay dividends on the track at Indy and later on in an upcoming race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“I’m working with all the students carefully and seeing what they’re doing,” he said to the Dispatch. “We’re confident that everything they’re doing is being done right.”

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.