BELL, RICE AND DUNO SECURE STARTING POSITIONS FOR INDY 500 WITH THE
WILLIAM RAST CAR THE FASTEST SPEED OF THE DAY
Bell Takes 12th Starting Spot with 222.539 MPH Four-Lap Qualifying Average
INDIANAPOLIS - The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team secured three starting positions Saturday for the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race on May 25.
With eleven spots already locked in from last weekend, some 25 drivers were looking to qualify for the final 22 starting spots today when qualifications opened at noon Saturday.
Townsend Bell, the California native who looked for his second Indy 500 start, was the fastest of the DRR drivers with a solid four-lap average of 222.539 miles per hour. In fact, Bell's qualifying run, with laps of 222.833, 222.605, 222.522 and 222.198, was the best of all drivers Saturday to claim the coveted 12th starting spot in the No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara. Bell will start on the outside of the fourth row on May 25.
Bell's teammates, Buddy Rice and Milka Duno, also drove their respective Honda-powered cars into the Indy 500 field in Saturday afternoon's time trials.
Rice, the 2004 Indy 500 champion, clocked a four-lap average of 222.101 m.p.h. to record the 17th starting spot (the middle of the sixth row). Rice's No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold machine developed an understeer (push) condition throughout the four laps of his qualifying attempt.
Duno, one of three females to qualify for the 33-driver lineup, fought off some wind on her qualifying run but clicked off a four-lap average of 220.305 m.p.h. in the No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara to start 27th.
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara): "I'm pretty happy with that. We found everything just after our qualifying practice so we made a few small adjustments and I think we have it as good as we can be. So, I was racing our teammate right now, Buddy's been such a great teammate all month, I'm kind of rooting for him, kind of not. We've been friends for a while. We kind of hit the ground running. We have good chemistry. He's so open in terms of sharing information and it has just been a nice happy relationship so far. We've made good progress. It is good to have a solid qualifying run. We have worked on the race setup this week and we'll continue to do it the rest of the weekend."
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara): "It (the car) was picked up by a whole lot of push we didn't have that this morning when we did our run. So I was surprised to see it push that bad. I didn't think the car's going to do that, but it's not going to be an issue. So let's get back to work on race trim. There's nothing to be gained by worrying about the qualifying run now. You just needed to get the car in. There's a short time between now and the race, so you don't need to be taking any big risks. The risk taking was last week and we missed it. To be honest, I have been pleased with our race setup all week. That is really all we worked on. We were in the top ten each day early in the month. We feel good about the race car."
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara): "It was our goal today to earn a place on the grid. We weren't been able to go as fast as we wanted though. The wind made the car slower and too much air kept my r.p.m. lower in 6th gear. Even with the weather conditions, we are very happy to qualify and complete four consistent laps. Now we can work on our race setup later today and Sunday."