Hearn, Giebler Complete Indy Starting Field Veteran Roberto Moreno led the way in final qualifying Sunday for the Indianapolis 500, and provided most of the "Bump Day" excitement by withdrawing his previous day's qualifying run of 216.229 mph...
Hearn, Giebler Complete Indy Starting Field
Veteran Roberto Moreno led the way in final qualifying Sunday for the Indianapolis 500, and provided most of the "Bump Day" excitement by withdrawing his previous day's qualifying run of 216.229 mph and then re-qualifying more than four miles an hour faster to secure his place in the 91st running of the Memorial Day Classic.
For the second consecutive year, the Honda Indy V-8 engine powered the entire field of race hopefuls for two weeks of practice and qualifying, with 36 drivers and teams recording 12,799 laps [31,997.5 miles] around the historic 2.5-mile oval since the track opened for rookie practice on May 6.
Once again, clear blue skies and near-perfect weather conditions ruled the day at Indianapolis, in stark contrast to the previous two seasons when rain frequently interrupted both practice and qualifying.
Highlight of the day came with just less than one hour remaining, as Roberto Moreno withdrew his previous day's qualifying run before he could be "bumped", and then succeeded in re-qualifying his Chastain Motorsports Honda Panoz at a much quicker 220.299 mph. Moreno himself was a second-week replacement for original driver Stephane Gregoire, who suffered a back injury in a crash on May 17.
The 33-car starting field was completed by veteran Richie Hearn & rookie Phil Giebler, who bumped slowest qualifier Jimmy Kite to make his first "500" start. Giebler became the second rookie to qualify for this year's race, joining sports car racer Milka Duno who made her successful qualifying run on Saturday.
The speed differential of just 6.9 mph between the fastest qualifying run of Helio Castroneves and Marty Roth's slowest run is also much closer than 2006, when the spread was 13.3 mph.
Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on Honda powering the entire Indianapolis 500 starting field for the second consecutive year: "Once again, we've accomplished our first goal for the 'Month of May' providing the full field of 33 qualified cars and drivers with equal Honda Indy V-8 engines. I'm impressed by the quality of this year's starting grid and the closeness of the competition, the speed differential from first to last is much closer than in '06. I'd like to thank all of our associates at HPD and our technical partners at Ilmor for their hard work and attention to detail in making this program operate so smoothly. Now we're looking forward to a sucessful and exciting race on Sunday."