Start of Indy 500 qualifications delayed by rain

The scoring pylon displays a weather alert urging fans to take shelter as rain delayed the start of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday, May 20, 2017 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WISH) — The start of Indianapolis 500 qualifications have been delayed by rain.

Just minutes before the scheduled start, the public address announcer told fans to implement their safety plans and cars would be towed back to their garages. Heavy rain saturated the 2.5-mile oval about 15 minutes later.

As of around 1:45 p.m. Saturday, the official IMS account tweeted that they were in the process of drying the track, with plans to stay open past their usual 6 p.m. end time so that all drivers could get their laps in.

Safety trucks were seen circulating the track around 1:30 p.m.

According to a press release from IndyCar, plans are in place to start the qualifications at 4 p.m.

Only a smattering of cars participated in the morning practice, which was run in chilly, overcast conditions. It was a stark contrast to the warm, sunny, breezy days that drivers dealt with most of this week.

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