DARREN MANNING PUTS THE NO. 14 IN THE 500; AL UNSER JR. TO QUALIFY NEXT WEEK INDIANAPOLIS May 13 -- Darren Manning can rest easy. He qualified the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda at an average speed of 223.471 mph to start 15th in the 91st ...
DARREN MANNING PUTS THE NO. 14 IN THE 500; AL UNSER JR. TO QUALIFY NEXT WEEK
INDIANAPOLIS May 13 -- Darren Manning can rest easy. He qualified the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda at an average speed of 223.471 mph to start 15th in the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500. Al Unser Jr.'s initial qualifying attempt today--220.963 mph--didn't hold up and he will qualify again this coming Saturday.
After coming so close to making it in the race the first day (missing by only 13 hundredths of a mile an hour over a four-lap average), Darren Manning did not sleep very well Saturday night.
"I wish we had this car yesterday," said Manning in his post-qualifying interview. "I really feel we would have had some low 24s with this car in yesterday's conditions. I didn't sleep very well last night...No one really likes qualifying around here--I think if you like qualifying around here, you're going too slow.
"It's been my feeling all year that when we've made the car drive better, we've gone faster," he continued. "But there was no sense pushing it today, we just wanted to get it in the show solid and we did that. Now we can focus on race set-up."
Manning did go out later in the day to test some race set-ups and ran consistently in the 220-221 mph range. The ABC Supply team will begin fine-tuning when the track opens up for practice on Wednesday.
Unser will also work on race set-ups in the No. 50 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda after he finds a comfortable qualifying set-up.
"There was definitely no white-knuckling in the qualifying run, and I'm not gonna have it there, either," said the two-time Indy 500 winner. "We tried a little bit less wing this morning, and it made the back end a little bit too light for my comfort, and so we put it back in there. We were searching for more speed and I just wasn't confident enough in everything to put that much on the line for one or two mile an hour when the best we can do is 12th today. Like my dad said, two, three, four cars in front of you, where you start isn't gonna make any difference. I got a ton of people in front of me already. We'll get it in the show, and we'll get comfortable with it."
When asked about driving for A.J. at Indy, Unser replied, "It's a real honor to be driving for A.J., with his 50th anniversary at Indy, and they tell me I'm his 50th driver, so that's cool. There are some car owners you want to drive for in your career, and A.J. is just one of them."
The cars will practice from noon to 6 pm Wednesday through Friday with qualifying scheduled to start at noon on Saturday for positions 23 through 33. Final Bump Day for the race will be Sunday, May 20.