Schroeder Qualifies for Indy 500! INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., the only driver entered in this year's Indy 500 from the Northeast, put the Purity Farms G-Force Infiniti No. 96 in the...
Schroeder Qualifies for Indy 500!
INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - Jeret Schroeder of Vineland, N.J., the only driver entered in this year's Indy 500 from the Northeast, put the Purity Farms G-Force Infiniti No. 96 in the field Saturday during qualifying for the May 30 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is the first driver from New Jersey to make the field in 16 years.
"I'm ecstatic that I made it!" he said. "I had to wave off my first attempt because we misjudged the wind and picked the wrong gear. We made a small wing change and picked another gear and I made the race!"
Schroeder's Cobb Racing crew chose fifth gear instead of sixth for the second qualifying attempt. "There's not much difference between fifth and sixth, but there was a lot of head wind going down the backstretch, and that hurt our speed on the first attempt," he said. "We went with fifth for the second run, and it worked out great!"
Schroeder drew 41st in the qualifying order. His first attempt came at 2:09 p.m., when he turned laps at 218.468 mph, 219.288 mph and 219.469 mph before engineer Walter Preston waved that run off.
After the changes were made, Schroeder went back out again at 3:26 p.m. He had to pull into the pits after his first warm-up lap though because the starter battery had been left on the top of the sidepod. It stayed on until he pitted for its removal, and then all systems were "go" again.
Schroeder then ran off laps averaging 220.794 mph, 220.951 mph, 220.767 mph and 220.475 mph for an average speed of 220.747 mph. At the end of the day that was 21st fastest. Bumping will continue tomorrow unless it rains, but Schroeder is so far up in the 33-car field that it is extremely unlikely that he would be bumped. Only three to five cars remaining would even be likely contenders to bump him, and he's too far up on the scoring for bumping to be much of a threat. On the provisional starting line-up he's on the outside of row seven alongside Donnie Beechler and Stan Wattles and ahead of row eight consisting of Buddy Lazier, Roberto Moreno and Tony Stewart.
"This is what I've waited for all my racing career," said Schroeder. "Due to the history and tradition, this is where the best of the best have raced, and I'm proud that I'm going to be on that list. The Cobb Racing team gave me a great car, and I feel that everyone that I know is giving me a lot of support."
At the moment, the only rookie who has qualified faster than Schroeder is John Hollansworth Jr. As it turned out Schroeder actually qualified faster than his teammate, veteran Roberto Guerrero, who was 25th Saturday with an average speed of 220.479 mph.
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