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Brayton, Indy Feud on Minds of U.S. 500 Drivers

May 25, 1996

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) _ At their final meeting before the U.S. 500, the drivers were told Saturday to keep Scott Brayton in their prayers and remember that the world will be comparing their rebel race to the Indianapolis 500.

``You guys know the attention is on us,″ said Tom Plotzke, a Indy-car official who coordinate the pre-race activities. ``Please give us your best shot.″

The Rev. Hunter Floyd, who travels with the circuit for Motorsports Ministries, said a prayer asking for a safe race and told the drivers to remember their brethren at the Indianapolis 500, which was boycotted by all of the top teams.

``They’re there because they have to be and we’re here because we have to be,″ he said. ``Let’s keep our fingers crossed for another 24 hours.″

Floyd also mentioned Brayton, who was killed in practice after winning the pole for the Indy 500, which is being contested by a group of less-prominent drivers from the Indy Racing League.

``We lost one of our own a couple of weeks ago,″ the minister said.

As for the racing rules at Michigan, Indy-car officials announced a new double-file restart procedure after caution periods. Competitors on the lead lap will restart on the outside, while lapped drivers will move to the inside of the track.

The field will split when starter Jim Swintal displays crossed green and yellow flags.

A new procedure also will be used at the start of yellow-flag periods. Pit road will be closed and the pace car will take a position directly in front of the leader. When the field aligns behind the pace car, the pits will be opened and any competitor on the lead lap may come in; lapped cars will have to wait until the next time around the 2-mile oval.

In addition, there will be revised penalties for pit-lane violations. Exceeding the 80 mph speed limit will result in the driver having to take another run down pit road at the proper speed. Passing under the yellow remains a stop-and-go penalty.

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