INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 21, 2001 - Felipe Giaffone will replace Raul Boesel in the 85th Indianapolis 500 for Treadway-Hubbard Racing, team officials announced May 21. Boesel qualified the ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, May 21, 2001 - Felipe Giaffone will replace Raul Boesel in the 85th Indianapolis 500 for Treadway-Hubbard Racing, team officials announced May 21.
Boesel qualified the #5T Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone on Bump Day, May 20, for the 31st starting spot with a four-lap average of 221.879. Giaffone's four-lap average of 221.100 was bumped from the field May 20, and his final attempt to qualify with 17 minutes remaining was waved off after one lap.
According to Indy Racing League rules, Giaffone will start from the rear of the field in 33rd position, vaulting Cory Witherill into the 31st starting spot and Billy Boat into 32nd. Giaffone will drive Boesel's qualified car, changed to the No. 21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone, in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing on May 27.
Giaffone is the team's full-time driver for the 2001 season and is fifth in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series point standings. He also leads the Rookie of the Year points. Giaffone has three top-10 finishes in his first three Indy Racing starts.
"Our commitment is to Felipe and our sponsor Hollywood for the 2001 season," said Scott Cronk, vice president of Treadway-Hubbard Racing. "Felipe has done a great job for us, and we have a tremendous confidence in his abilities. After seeing the speeds in ideal conditions last Sunday, we felt it prudent to take measures to protect our starting position in the field, and Raul agreed to come drive the car knowing this possibility existed. "We all really thought 221.100 would hold, so we didn't want to withdraw our qualified car. We knew, however, if we did get bumped, it would be late in the day. So we did not want to risk not having the opportunity to go back out and qualify if time ran out or if we had a problem as we saw with some other guys last week. We did, in fact, have a mechanical problem with the 21T car on Sunday and could never get the car up to speed.
"This place is extremely unpredictable, as the last two weeks have proven. This was a well-thought-out plan to protect our interest in having Felipe and a Hollywood car in the race. Who knows, maybe we can have a repeat of 1992."
Scott Goodyear was bumped from the 1992 field. But Walker Racing decided to replace its qualified driver, Mike Groff, with Goodyear in the starting lineup. Goodyear started 33rd and went on to finish second to Al Unser Jr. by .043 of a second, the closest finish in Indianapolis 500 history. This is the first time a qualified driver has been replaced in the Indianapolis 500 field since 1996, when Team Menard replaced the late Scott Brayton with Danny Ongais. Pole sitter Brayton was killed in a practice crash the week after Pole Day. Goodyear also replaced Davy Jones through a Budweiser King Racing team decision in 1994.
"It was great to have the chance to work with the Treadway team again," Boesel said. "If Scott (Cronk) had not called me last Monday night, I probably would not have had the opportunity to be at Indy this year. I'm certainly disappointed because I really thought 221.100 would be enough, and I would have a chance to race. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.
"I knew why the team called me and what the plan would be in this situation. All the appropriate arrangements were made up front. I wish the team the best, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with the Treadway team again in the future."