With so much action packed into Sunday's Sao Paulo Indy 300 schedule, it was a busy morning at the Anhembi circuit. Qualifying was hit by controversy after a last-minute protest from Gil de Ferran guaranteed a spot for Raphael Matos (pictured) in the top 12, at the expense of Danica Patrick. Matos spun in the session and had lost his best time, but after a protest from his team co-owner it was found that the Brazilian had been pitched into a spin by Patrick's teammate, Marco Andretti.
• The grinding work done overnight worked and lap times fell by over five seconds as drivers finally could floor their 650hp engines down the Sambadrome straight. The downside was, the work left a lot of dust on the track, so the first cars to hit the circuit this morning looked like Dakar racers, lifting massive rooster tails of dust. Because of these final adjustments, the scheduled was delayed by 15 minutes this morning.
• Long-time Indy car fans were treated to a special show by former CART champion Cristiano da Mattta. CDM is back on a full-time ride for the first time since his horrifying 2006 crash at Elkhart Lake, driving, of all things, a Scuderia Iveco Formula Truck behemoth – think 1,400 horsepower and 10,000lb curb weight. Da Matta floored his uber-Truck in a couple of demo laps around the Anhembi track.
• A Brazilian take on an Indy tradition: Bom Gosto, a Brazilian dairy giant, is sponsoring an Indy 500-like milk celebration in Victory Circle for today's race. After drinking the milk, the winner will sign the carton, which will be auctioned for charity.
• Grandstands looked to be nearly full but, start-finish line tickets commanded a 50 percent premium and thus ended up shunned by the public – there's a crowd gap on the grandstands precisely at that spot. The organizers say the event is set to be a near sellout, however, with an expected crowd of 40,000.
• With Indy Racing League rules mandating the performance of America's National Anthem at every race, an oddity is set for Sao Paulo as famous Brazilian soul singer Ed Motta will sing the Star Spangled Banner. Daniela Mercury will be in charge of the Brazilian anthem afterward.