There's No Turning Back for Harrington; Qualifies CertainTeed No. 66 for Indy 500 INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - When the CertainTeed Corporation signed on with Harrington Motorsports on Thursday, they certainly...
There's No Turning Back for Harrington; Qualifies CertainTeed No. 66 for Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS, May 22 - When the CertainTeed Corporation signed on with Harrington Motorsports on Thursday, they certainly got one heck of a driver. Scott Harrington showed that building materials company and everyone else at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway just how good he is on Saturday when he put a Dallara-Aurora that was suffering from an electrical problem into the field for the Indy 500 by driving absolutely flat-out, earning the 30th starting spot on the provisional grid for the May 30 race as the 6 p.m. closing gun rang out.
Only 33 cars will start the classic on May 30, so Harrington and his crew are praying for rain on Sunday so they won't be bumped from the field by a faster car.
"I drove it to the max 100 percent those last two laps," Harrington said later. "If you look at the computer data, I didn't even lift 1 percent the entire last lap. The first lap is kind of a giveaway because you're still getting up to speed. I knew we were going to have to make up the time on laps two, three and four, so I just played rodeo rider and hung on. This afternoon there was no turning back."
Harrington's first attempt came at 2:39 p.m. He ran laps at 218.861 mph, 218.999 mph and 219.218 mph before crew chief Darrell Soppe waved that attempt off. At 4:20 p.m. he ran one warm-up lap but didn't take the green, so he still had two attempts left. He started his second attempt at 5:57 p.m. and ran laps at 218.856 mph, 219.957 mph, 219.780 mph and 220.221 mph for an average speed of 219.702 mph to earn the 30th spot on the provisional grid.
Harrington was relieved to have made a run that was good enough to crack the field, but he was also a bit disappointed. "We had a car that could easily have done 224, but we had some electrical gremlins and so it was back to the dramatics of qualifying here," he said. "I just can't figure out what's up with our luck here at Indy. Our first lap out last Saturday, we blew an engine. Then we caught some air wrong and crashed on Monday. Then today we didn't have an engine problem, but we had something wrong with the computer system. We drove the wheels off the car, and for right now we're here. I'm not sure how well that time is going to hold up tomorrow."
Drops of rain were falling while Harrington's car was going through its final tech inspection Saturday afternoon and for a few anxious moments it looked like he wasn't even going to get to make his second attempt, but the rain held off long enough for him to get his run in. A full field of 33 cars qualified on Saturday, so if it rains all day on Sunday Harrington is in the race with no problems. If "Bump Day" is held tomorrow, Harrington's spot may or may not hold up. If it doesn't he could still qualify in another car, but Harrington and all of his team hope it doesn't come to that tomorrow.
"We're praying for rain like we've never prayed before," Harrington said moments before leaving the track for a sponsorship commitment Saturday night. "I hope it rains all day."