SUNDAY QUALIFYING SPOT THE MOTHER'S DAY TARGET FOR SHARP AND THE PATRON CREW INDIANAPOLIS, IN, Saturday, May 9, 2009: Former Indy 500 pole-sitter Scott Sharp is aiming to lock in a starting position for his 14th Indianapolis 500 ...
SUNDAY QUALIFYING SPOT THE MOTHER'S DAY TARGET FOR SHARP AND THE PATRON CREW
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, Saturday, May 9, 2009: Former Indy 500 pole-sitter Scott Sharp is aiming to lock in a starting position for his 14th Indianapolis 500 tomorrow after a tremendous fightback from the Tequila Patron Panther Racing crew in the past 24 hours.
Sharp will be fighting for a position from 12th to 22nd on the grid in second day qualifying on Mother's Day tomorrow.
The no.16 machine was unable to fight for a spot on pole day after sustaining heavy damage in an accident on Friday.
The Panther Racing crew worked through the night and returned the car to the track by 3:00pm today to complete final reassembly and set-up
Unfortunately for the Indianapolis-based squad, Sharp's team-mate Dan Wheldon also suffered a crash today - making for a busy 24 hours for the crew.
Both Sharp and Wheldon will have three opportunities to lock in a time tomorrow around the 2.5 mile speedway. Regardless of the speed run on Sunday, the highest either driver can qualify will be 12th.
The final 11 grid positions will be locked away next Saturday with bump day scheduled for Sunday. Sharp is aiming to lock down his starting position tomorrow as he will be continuing his American Le Mans Series championship challenge for Patron Highcroft Racing at Salt Lake City's Miller Motorsports Park next weekend.
Tomorrow's second day of qualifying will be shown live on the Versus network.
"It has been a huge team effort from the Panther Racing boys in the past 24 hours. The carbon guys did an amazing job in repairing the tub. The got the car around 5-6pm yesterday and had it back in the shop at 10pm - just incredible.
"They had the engine back in by midnight and we could have taken a shot of really thrashing to get the car out there today but we wouldn't have had much practice time with all the qualifying runs happening.
"The conditions were pretty tough out there and we really wanted to be thorough and make sure that everything was right.
"That was certainly the right call. Sneaking into the top 11 would have been a big challenge but being a few more spots back is really not going to make a huge difference on race day.
"It is more important that we have everything right, get back on track tomorrow and get the Tequila Patron car in the show.
"I really feel for the boys because they have had to put my teammate Dan Wheldon's car back together as well. He had some pretty good speed and looked like he was set for a good qualifying run before his crash - it was a real shame for the whole Panther team."