THE SHARP END: BACK ON THE GRID Talk about a flair for the dramatic. Down to his final attempt on the first weekend of qualifying for the Indy 500, Patron Highcroft Racing's Scott Sharp had fortune smile down on him as he...
THE SHARP END: BACK ON THE GRID
Talk about a flair for the dramatic. Down to his final attempt on the first weekend of qualifying for the Indy 500, Patron Highcroft Racing's Scott Sharp had fortune smile down on him as he re-entered the track with less than a half-minute remaining in Sunday's session. Sharp got into the field and now faces the American Le Mans Series' Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix without the worry of jetting back and forth to make the grid at Indy.
I've never been happier to be 20th! I've had some runs here in the past, but to end the day like we did was certainly very rewarding for everybody.
One of the things that excited us about coming to Panther was their performance in this race and I am very excited about some of the plans for the set-up for the 500. But first of all you have to get in the race and I wasn't sure when that was going to happen.
It seemed liked the car should have been faster, but you can only do what you can do.
Between every sticker run and every qualifying attempt I had about 10 attempts out there and if it was good enough - great, if not, I suppose I was fine to come back next Saturday.
Once I pulled out onto the track my mind was probably the clearest it has ever been. I just had to hold it down, hit my marks and see what we ended up with.
We've had a few things go wrong which led to our crash the other day in the Tequila Patron car but I can't say enough about the Panther guys who did an amazing job in turning the car around and getting us back on track.
A couple of the guys pulled all-nighters to make it happen on Thursday and I really can't thank them enough. Dan had his crash as well so it has been a very challenging week for the boys.
Sunday we were chasing speed and we kept pulling wing out the car but still couldn't find the time we needed. We'd make some good runs in practice and show strong speed without a tow and then we'd go and do the qualifying run and couldn't get the numbers - it was very strange.
At the last bit I really thought we were done. At the end of the day we laid the wing down some more and pulled up in the tech line. I saw four guys in front of me and looked at watch and it said six minutes to go and said 'I think we're done - its over'.
I have to say a big thank you to the League because all of a sudden I was at the front of line. I saw them do it yesterday - if you weren't fast enough on track or weren't going to make a run, they'd pull you straight off.
It was certainly a challenging task we are facing here to come and race against the guys in IndyCars who are driving these things all the time - especially considering we are not able to run much of the second week or any of the second weekend because I'll be back in the Patron Highcroft Racing Acura in the American Le Mans Series race in Salt Lake City next weekend.
That certainly makes the task tougher, then you throw in a crash and all of a sudden it makes things a little uphill.
I was sitting there in the tech line thinking 'Wow - this isn't going to happen, I've got a rent a plane, run in Utah on Friday, come back and qualify here on Saturday, back to Salt Lake to race on Sunday...'
It was all going through my head then the two guys in front pulled out and it was 'Let's go' and I held it down and got in the show.
Follow Scott's return to Indianapolis and at the upcoming Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix exclusively at americanlemans.com.