Behind the Barriers: Bump Day

Mario Dominguez was on track, making his third qualifying attempt of the day when he spun in Turn 1 and made moderate contact with the SAFER Barrier. Dominguez was attempting to bump Marty Roth (218.965 mph) from the field in what would be the...

Mario Dominguez was on track, making his third qualifying attempt of the day when he spun in Turn 1 and made moderate contact with the SAFER Barrier. Dominguez was attempting to bump Marty Roth (218.965 mph) from the field in what would be the last qualifying attempt of the event. Dominguez failed to make the field on his first attempt when he was clocked at 217.775 mph. A second attempt put him in the field with a speed of 218.620 mph but 16 minutes later Buddy Lazier delivered a qualifying speed of 219.015 mph. Dominguez was checked and released at the Clarian Emergency Medical Center and was cleared to drive. Dominguez, who scored one pole and two victories in the Champ Car World Series, was on his second qualifying lap when he crashed. Had he maintained the speed from his first lap (219.780 mph) he would have successfully bumped Roth from the field.

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Marty Roth survived the bubble for the second consecutive year, qualifying for his fourth Indianapolis 500. Roth qualified at 218.965 mph, a tick faster than his qualifying speed from last year (218.922 mph).

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Tony Kanaan spent the one-hour morning session shaking down Hideki Mutoh's No. 27 Formula Dream car. Kanaan has the done the same for teammates Marco Andretti and Danica Patrick in the past. Kanaan returned briefly to the No. 27 in the afternoon. After Kanaan ran a few laps, Mutoh sampled the changes made overnight, turned 22 laps and put the car in the garage. Mutoh ran comfortably in the 218 mph range and said he was pleased with the car.

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American Dream Motorsports owner Eric Zimmerman announced this morning that the team will not participate in the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500. Deciding to regroup, current expectations are to acquire a new car and file an entry for Jaques Lazier for the June 7 Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway. The team faced a major setback on Saturday when Phil Giebler crashed the team's Panoz chassis during practice. Giebler spent Saturday night in Methodist Hospital after suffering pulmonary contusions (bruised lungs). He was released on Sunday, and was not cleared to drive. "We're going to prepare for Texas and three or four more races in the Indy Car Series this year," said Zimmerman. "We'll have our sponsor Gardner Trucking for the rest of the year and throughout the 2009 season. We're going to do a full season in 2009."

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Davey Hamilton smoked an engine as he motored down the backstretch, ending the morning practice session 19 minutes early. Although white smoke billowed from the rear of his car no fluids were dropped on the track. Rather than clean up oil and water, about 20 safety crew members hunted for the small bits of debris left in Hamilton's wake. "Stuff like that happens," said Hamilton. "Thank God that nothing big happened and we didn't get into the wall or anything."

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Rubicon Race Team team manager Chris Griffis has not left the Speedway since he arrived Saturday morning after supervising the rebuilding of Max Papis' Lifelock No. 44. Papis crashed at 11:15 a.m. Saturday in Turn 3 and by noon the team was busy searching for replacement parts. With the engine changed at 5:00 p.m., several crew members left for the team's shop on Indy's westside to continue work. Others stayed at IMS to work until 1:00 a.m. this morning. At 10:00 a.m. the car was presented for technical inspection. Griffis will soon turn his attention to the Sam Schmidt Motorsports four Firestone Indy Lights entries.

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Jaques Lazier continued to turn laps in the garage area when he wasn't acting as the Turn 1 spotter for Mario Dominguez. "My duties this month actually started up on Thursday to help Mario out and spot for the team over in Turn 1," said Lazier, who came close to landing a ride. "We tried a couple of things and got close on a couple of deals, but nothing came to fruition this year. "I'm just here now to help out Pacific Coast. We had a sponsor that was really close and we were going to bring them over to Pacific Coast, and then unfortunately it fell apart. Now I'm just doing whatever I can to help out Mario with the lines and try to get him comfortable."

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A. J. Foyt IV suffered a first degree burn to the back of his neck when he crashed during practice. Team manager Keven Kukulewicz said the accident was caused by a failure on a crew member's part. After the accident, Foyt was prepared to return to the track in the backup car. "I'm fine mentally," said Foyt IV. "Crashes like this where you know what happened and what caused it, you can brush those off pretty quick. It's when you snap loose and crash and don't know what really happened, that's what gets to your head."

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At the conclusion of qualifying, fans were treated to an impromptu air show as military aircraft that had been on display in the infield as part of the Armed Forces Day celebration took off to return to their respective bases. The talented pilots executed impressive maneuvers, rarely seen in helicopters, as they exited the airspace over the Speedway. The display featured the Apache and Blackhawk helicopters as well as the United States Military's largest and most powerful helicopter, the Sea Dragon.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Lazier , Davey Hamilton , Max Papis , Tony Kanaan , Mario Dominguez , Sam Schmidt , Marty Roth , Marco Andretti , Phil Giebler , Danica Patrick , Jaques Lazier