I don't know what the weather is up the road but it's been no rain here with a mixture of mostly clouds but some sun.
IMHO IMS needs to rethink their strategy when it comes to opening the track versus their cost-cutting measures. Why not keep Sunday as the official opening day for the track? Give the veterans the track for an hour, run ROP for the majority of the day, and then open the track for veterans again.
For one thing, NASCAR ran on Saturday night so Indy could've been live on Versus for a couple of hours today with no other major US racing competition on TV or for area/regional press to cover. It could've been a nice springboard to kickoff the month for coverage and hype building purposes.
Importantly, I think the shortened week is a bad idea in Indiana anyway due to our unpredictable weather. Leaving Sunday on the calendar would've added a little more buffer if you just HAVE to go dark on Monday and Tues for vets. Plus, having the track opener be ROP (and refreshers) alone doesn't seem to be a momentum starting plan either. If I was speedway king I'd ALWAYS open with veterans taking the track even if they didn't get the complete day and part of it was dedicated to ROP.
I'd agree the 2nd week doesn't need the track time that the first week could use. I think the first week serves purposes beyond simply ROP, practice for the vets, etc. It's free advertising for the event. The problem with the shorter 2nd week is one of logistics: Indiana weather! Last year was a perfect example. We had gorgeous days to start the week but the track was dark. Then weather moved in and practice days were cut short and mostly hurry up and wait piecemeal sessions. There were people on 2nd week engine programs who needed that track time. There were drivers looking for rides who were frozen out because teams had to focus their short practice time on the main car(s).
If the problem is cost-cutting measures for the Speedway itself and trying to not need to staff the facility for a couple of low turnout days, then they might just need to consider it a cost of doing business expense. They'll make up for it race day. If it's trying to cut costs for the competitors and keep the playing field more level (since those that can afford to run more WILL run more in practice) then possibly they could cap practice laps per day or some per day vs per week limits. Limit tires.... something...
Have Monday and Tuesday as 'optional' days in that 2nd week with the ability to open IF the extended weather forecast looks questionable for later in that week (by the previous weekend).
But whatever the case, now they've cutback both the 1st and 2nd week. I wouldn't have cutback week 1, or if I would've I would've left Sunday on there.