The field of 33 starters is set for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Bump Day, the fourth and final day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, began with one open position in the field of 33. Four qualification attempts were...
The field of 33 starters is set for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27. Bump Day, the fourth and final day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, began with one open position in the field of 33. Four qualification attempts were made today, adding two drivers to the field and removing one.
Richie Hearn filled the field after making the first qualifying run of the day at average speed of 219.860 mph. He will start in the middle of the last row.
Hearn, who not been on the track in his No. 91 Dallara before today, turned a total of 36 laps before making his qualifying run just after 2:30 p.m.. "You go from not sure what you have to anxiously getting in the car to getting in the field in a short span," Hearn said. "I'm very relieved."
With field filled, Phil Giebler took to the Speedway, bumping Jimmy Kite by qualifying at 219.63 mph. On Saturday, Giebler was well on his way to gaining a starting position in the race, completing three qualifying laps at speeds above 221 mph before crashing in Turn two.
Giebler's crew burned the midnight oil, working on the car until 1 a.m. before returning to the garage area early this morning. "Basically, they had to tear the whole car apart, check every nut and bolt," Giebler said. "The engine was broken, so we had to pull the engine out and basically tear apart the whole car and rebuild it. It was like building a whole new car."
On his final lap, Giebler said coming through Turn two, "was better than crossing the finish line. I was just happy to get through there."
Giebler's run put Roberto Moreno on the bubble at a very vulnerable speed of 216.229 mph. Sensing he was in trouble, Moreno's team elected to withdraw the No. 77 and make another run. The decision paid off and Moreno improved his qualifying speed four mph (220.299).
Moreno initially qualified on Saturday, but changes made to his Panoz chassis just before his qualifying run took the team in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, the team decided to complete a run in case Sunday was rained out. "The car was really difficult to drive yesterday," said Moreno, who will start on the inside of the last row.
Running above 217 mph in race trim this morning, the team focused on taking downforce off the car for a second qualifying attempt. After making several changes the car's speed increased to the 219-220 mph range and the decision was made to re-qualify the car.
With 3 minutes remaining before the gun would sound to end the day's activities, Jimmy Kite returned to the Speedway in an attempt to bump Marty Roth from the field. Although Kite had only managed a lap at 215 mph, he needed four laps close to 219 to better Roth's speed of 218.922 mph.
Roth stood smiling on pit lane when Kite's first lap averaged 214.744 mph. "It's great that it's one minute after six," said Roth. "It's been a long day. Unfortunately, we had a lousy qualifying, and that's the price you pay. You end up taking your turn on the bubble, and it's a very uncomfortable position."