Bell Misses First 11 Starting Spots Saturday With A Qualifying Run of 222.397 INDIANAPOLIS - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing worked hard Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to secure spots in the top eleven starting positions for...
Bell Misses First 11 Starting Spots Saturday With A Qualifying Run of 222.397
INDIANAPOLIS - Dreyer & Reinbold Racing worked hard Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an effort to secure spots in the top eleven starting positions for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 set on May 25.
The three drivers - Buddy Rice, Townsend Bell and Milka Duno - improved their speeds from earlier in the week in the Saturday morning practice session. The conditions were ideal in the morning, but changed dramati- cally in the afternoon during qualifications. Added heat and windy conditions hurt the cars' handling.
Bell, driving the No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara Indy Car, was the only DRR driver to attempt to qualify Saturday and posted a four-lap average of 222.397 miles per hour. Unfortunately, it took an average of at least 223.496 m.p.h. to secure a position in the first four rows. Qualifying is scheduled resume Sunday with the next eleven spots to be determined. Bell earlier had clocked a 224.305 reading in morning practice.
Scott Dixon of Ganassi Racing captured the pole position with an average speed of 226.366 m.p.h. followed by Dan Wheldon, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Vitor Meira, Hidecki Mutoh, Ed Carpenter and Tomas Scheckter.
Rice's No. 15 Dreyer& Reinbold Honda Dallara was fast in the morning but a clutch problem put the 2004 Indy 500 champion on the sidelines in the afternoon. Rice never made qualifying attempt Saturday. Duno, one of three women trying to make the field, improved her practice speed to 221.734 Saturday.
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Honda Dallara): "We had a clutch problem that caused us to lose some speed. We went back over our data and found that the clutch situation probably started yesterday. I'm not sure we can get out and make a qualifying run now. It will be close today. And with rain predicted for Sunday, we might have to qualify the car next weekend. I felt we had a car for positions nine through eleven in today's qualifying, but the clutch problem was something we just found this afternoon. We think it was affecting our speed on Friday too. If we can get the car back together for late today, I think we have the speed to make the show (first 11 positions)."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 William Rast Honda Dallara): "The car was sliding around too much on our first qualifying attempt . Obviously, the conditions were very good this morning and the car felt great. The track always changes here as the day goes on. We definitely wanted to make a strong effort to get in one of those top eleven spots. We'll practiced a little more and we tried to get a better handling package later in the day. But we need more time to get the car ready. I feel can get the car fast again for Sunday's qualifying. There is nothing like the Indy 500. It is the place to be in May."
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO Honda Dallara): "I am very pleased that we picked up more speed today. We have been work hard to get our car more comfortable for me. I think we are moving in that direction. It is good to work with Buddy (Rice) and Townsend (Bell) and talk about the car's handling. I didn't have that chance last year as I was with a single car team. Having teammates is very good for me."