Four More Qualify For Indianapolis 500 INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 16, 2004 -- Crew members didn't receive overtime pay for their efforts in reconstructing the No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. But they got the ...
Four More Qualify For Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, May 16, 2004 -- Crew members didn't receive overtime pay for their efforts in reconstructing the No. 24 Team Purex/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone. But they got the satisfaction of seeing Felipe Giaffone qualify the primary car May 16 for the 88th Indianapolis 500.
Second-day qualifying added four cars to the field for the May 30 classic, including the No. 24 that made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 during MBNA Pole Day Qualifications.
Bryan Herta, Alex Barron and Tora Takagi also qualified, increasing the field to 26.
The field average through two of three rounds of qualifying is 218.856 mph. There is no track activity May 17 and 18. Buddy Rice will sit on the pole after he recorded a four-lap average speed of 222.024 mph on May 15.
"(The car) wasn't too bad," Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner Robbie Buhl said. "It was a couple corners, a gearbox, a little bit of a wing. Fortunately, we had most of those parts here."
After putting the car back together in the morning, it was turned over to Giaffone for shakedown laps before a potential qualifying run. Another twist was thrown at the team about 6:25 p.m. (EDT) when they noticed smoke coming from the undertray. After it was checked and cleared, Giaffone left the qualification line two minutes before the end of the session.
"That created a little more excitement than you wanted," said Buhl, who retired from the driver's seat last month. "This place is amazing. You always think you have lots of time, but all of a sudden the guys are thrashing to get things done.
"It's behind us. Now we shift focus to our race car."
Giaffone had a four-lap average speed of 216.259 mph and will start from the middle of the ninth row.
"All the guys were a little concerned, and we wanted to get qualifying done today so at least we did it," Giaffone said. "We knew what went wrong (May 15). We had really light downforce in the car, so right now have plenty of downforce. We pretty much had the race downforce in the car; it was just a matter of having a bit more time to adjust. We just went to qualify, and the car was all right but not perfect.
"(The crew) did an awesome job getting the car ready."
Herta and Barron qualified in their back-up cars after their primary cars also made contact with the wall in Turn 1 on May 15. Herta, in the No. 7T XM Satellite Radio Dallara/Honda/Firestone, will start from the middle of the seventh row after posting a four-lap average speed of 219.871 mph.
"I knew that it would take a couple of laps this morning to get the feelings back and put yesterday out of my mind," Herta said. "I just asked my engineer to just give me a comfortable car to start with and he did that. We just wanted to get in comfortable and move on to the next phase of the week, which was working on race set-up with my (Andretti Green Racing) teammates."
Barron, in the No. 51T Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, had an average speed of 218.836 mph and will start from the outside of Row 8. Takagi, in the No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, had an average speed of 214.364 mph and is the slowest qualifier.
"It was a long night last night," Barron said. "You can't help but replay the whole scenario in your head and analyze everything, but I'm lucky to have a great group of engineers and a great crew that stick by me. They put together a good car today and we had a solid run. It's a relief to be in the field and focus only on the race."