Matos paces Indy's second day of qualifications

The field for the 93rd Indianapolis 500 continued to fill on Sunday as eleven more cars took their place on on what will be a 33-car grid for the May 24th race. Twenty-two slots currently makeup the starting lineup with 11 more added next Saturday...

The field for the 93rd Indianapolis 500 continued to fill on Sunday as eleven more cars took their place on on what will be a 33-car grid for the May 24th race. Twenty-two slots currently makeup the starting lineup with 11 more added next Saturday before the traditional Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 17th.

Rookie Raphael Matos was fastest on the second day of qualifications. His four-lap average speed of 223.028 mph put him into the outside spot on the fourth row alongside yesterday's final qualifier Alex Lloyd.

"The team has spent a lot of time working on the car over the winter," Matos said. "Unfortunately, we didn't qualify yesterday, but we did put in a great effort today. We impressed with our speed today, and hopefully we'll have a fast car for the race." It will be the first 500 for the twenty-seven year-old Brazilian and the second for the Luzco Dragon Racing team.

KV Racing Technology's Paul Tracy took two attempts to achieve a mark of 222.822 mph and qualify thirteenth. "We're starting in mid-pack," he said, "and we'll go from there. A lot of things can happen in a 500-mile race. It's three times longer than any other race in the series, and a single lap can change everything over the course of the race."

Tracy is competing at Indianapolis for the first time since his controversial yellow light violation and second-place finish in the 2002 race, won by Helio Castroneves.

Vitor Meira (223.054 mph) and Justin Wilson (222.903 mph) followed to fill the fifth of eleven rows of three. Meira's time was his second attempt of the day after his initial run was disqualified for unspecified technical reasons.

Andretti Green Racing's Hideki Mutoh qualified sixteenth at 222.805 mph, Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter seventeenth at 222.780 mph and Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon at 222.777 mph took the eighteenth spot.

Row 7 finds A.J. Foyt IV (222.586 mph), Scott Sharp (222.162 mph) and Sarah Fisher (222.028 mph).

Sharp narrowly missed disappointment after being bumped out of the field late in the day. His team hurried his No. 16 car through technical inspection to allow him to requalify in the last run of the day and claw his way back into the race. Sharp had an additional incentive as his American Le Mans Series team, Highcroft Racing, will be in Utah next weekend and he needs to be in the Acura prototype cockpit for the event.

"We were a mile an hour faster in a simulation run we made a little earlier, but it got away from us," Sharp said afterwards. "The car seemed to slide a little bit, and I don't know why that was. It's been tough the last few days for us here, but that's the way it is sometimes."

Fisher, who owns and operates her team, was equally relieved to qualify for The Greatest Spectacle in Racing. "The first run was a little hairy," she said. "We just had to readjust some things from our first attempt and put in a solid run our second time around. We were a little quicker than we were all week today, by ourselves, so I was really happy with that."

Davey Hamilton (221.956 mph) was the final qualifier to hold a grid position: 22nd on the inside of the eighth row.

Indy veteran driver John Andretti spun in Turn 1 and heavily damaged the Petty Racing Enterprises No. 43 car as he sought more speed after being bumped from the field in mid-afternoon. Andretti nearly slid into the path of Newman/Haas/Lanigan's Graham Rahal approaching at high speed from the rear, but Rahal veered over the grass apron and back onto the course in a brilliant piece of evasive maneuvering. Neither driver was injured.

Skies cleared over central Indiana on Sunday and morning practice commenced as scheduled under sunny conditions at 10:15 AM EDT.

At the opening Dreyer and Reinbold's Mike Conway smacked the wall in Turn 1 rear-first and was taken to Indianapolis Methodist Hospital with pulmonary contusion. He was listed in good condition after being admitted for treatment.

Alex Tagliani crashed in the south end of the oval thirty minutes later. "I don't know what happened," he said. "I was just warming up the car really slow (199 mph) and suddenly lost the rear." Tagliani was unhurt.

Dan Wheldon was fastest in the morning practice at 224.164 mph, followed by Justin Wilson (223.841 mph) and Paul Tracy (223.653 mph).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Andretti , Justin Wilson , Sarah Fisher , Davey Hamilton , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , A.J. Foyt IV , Alex Tagliani , Paul Tracy , Graham Rahal , Dan Wheldon , Alex Lloyd , Mike Conway , Hideki Mutoh , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira
Teams KV Racing Technology , Dragon Racing