INDIANAPOLIS, May 11 - Buddy Rice is comfortably in the field for the 87th Indianapolis 500, but the two other Phoenix-area drivers vying for spots in the race - two-time winner Arie Luyendyk and former pole winner Billy Boat -- will have to wait...
INDIANAPOLIS, May 11 - Buddy Rice is comfortably in the field for the 87th Indianapolis 500, but the two other Phoenix-area drivers vying for spots in the race - two-time winner Arie Luyendyk and former pole winner Billy Boat -- will have to wait until next Sunday.
Rice put the Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet in the 19th starting spot with a four-lap average of 226.213 miles per hour.
"It's a big deal," the rookie driver said, "and we're pretty happy with what we've turned and we're pretty excited with where we have qualified. Maybe we could have done just a little bit better, but it was the best we have run by ourselves all week.
"It's just one more phase out of the way," he continued. "Now we have to go work on our race package. That's our biggest concern right now, and it's something we've been looking forward to. I think we have a solid platform and a solid car to start working on."
Rice said he welcomed the two-day break before practice resumes on Wednesday.
"I'm going to take a couple days off and just kind of chill out," he said. "We've been putting in some long hours trying to do whatever we can to get the car a little further up (on the speed chart).
Boat, who crashed in practice Saturday morning, was released from Methodist Hospital later in the day, but at the close of qualifications Sunday had not yet been cleared to drive. Boat has decided to take advantage of the two-day break and will return to the track on Wednesday.
"I'm sore, but I feel fine," said Boat, adding that he was "glad the Speedway has done as much as they have with safety."
Luyendyk, the winner here in 1990 and 1997, was cleared to drive Saturday after a Friday crash, but did not make an appearance Sunday.
Practice will resume Wednesday and the final "Bump Day" qualifying is set for Sunday, May 18. "Carb Day" practice is Thursday, May 22, with the "500" to be aired live by ABC on Sunday, May 25.