Late day gamble pays off for Conquest Racing - Both rookie drivers qualified for Indy 500 with Romancini fastest rookie on the grid - INDIANAPOLIS (May 23, 2010) - Conquest Racing took a late day gamble during Bump Day qualifying at the ...
Late day gamble pays off for Conquest Racing
- Both rookie drivers qualified for Indy 500 with Romancini fastest rookie on the grid -
INDIANAPOLIS (May 23, 2010) - Conquest Racing took a late day gamble during Bump Day qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the pay off was a good one as the team assured itself a couple of places for Bertrand Baguette and Mario Romancini in the starting lineup of the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
As is the norm during Bump Day qualifying, it wasn't without a little drama with the #34 car of Romancini finding itself on the bubble with about 20 minutes to go in the session. Romancini had posted a four lap average speed of 223.805 mph earlier in the day, which had initially placed him 32nd.
All too familiar with the workings of Bump Day, Conquest Racing didn't take any chances and with Romancini already waiting in line they took the gamble of pulling his previous time and sent the rookie back out for his second qualifying attempt of the day.
Unlike for other teams, the decision was a good one as the Brazilian registered his quickest laps of the month, guaranteeing him a first start in the Indianapolis 500 and making him the fastest rookie on the grid.
His first lap of 224.553 mph was followed up with an even quicker lap of 224.857 mph. He then put in a third lap of 224.601 mph and a fourth lap of 224.533 mph good for a four lap average speed of 224.641 mph. A speed average that would have placed him 15th overall on a traditional grid, but that puts him 27th on the starting grid for this year's 500, ahead of drivers such as Tony Kanaan.
With Romancini safely in the field, all the team had to do now was wait and see what would happen in the remaining minutes of qualifying. Conquest's second rookie driver, Bertrand Baguette had registered a four lap average speed of 224.189 mph on Saturday during Pole Day.
Although the Belgian was ready to head back out for another attempt if he became in danger of falling to the bubble, no one got close enough to dislodge him and he will be starting next weekend's race on the outside of row 8 in 24th place.
With both cars in the 33-car field, Conquest Racing will be the only team fielding a pair of rookies for this year's Greatest Spectacle in Racing. It will also be the fifth time that Conquest Racing takes part in the famed 500-mile race, each time with rookie drivers behind the wheel of its cars.
Conquest Racing Quote Board
24th - Bertrand Baguette, #36 RACB National Team
"I want to thank the team for all of their hard work this weekend. It's a great feeling to know that we are definitely qualified now. It's always a little bit stressful. We stayed prepared to go back out and qualify but in the end we didn't need to. I'm looking forward to returning to the track on Friday for a final practice before the race. Overall it was a good day for us and I'm extremely happy to be qualified for my first Indy 500."
27th - Mario Romancini, #34 Conquest Racing
"Today was definitely the toughest day of my career. I have never felt so much pressure. We knew that we needed to be in the show, so we took a big risk at the end to pull our time and go out for another run. We saw in practice just before the qualifying attempt that we had some decent speed, which is why we decided to take the risk. The guys did a great job today and I'm very happy that we are in the show now."