SCHECKTER TO START 10TH FOR VISION RACING IN HIS SIXTH INDIANAPOLIS 500 SPEEDWAY, Indiana -- The new qualifying format was on display today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the top 11 spots, including the AAMCO Transmissions Pole position,...
SCHECKTER TO START 10TH FOR VISION RACING IN HIS SIXTH INDIANAPOLIS 500
SPEEDWAY, Indiana -- The new qualifying format was on display today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the top 11 spots, including the AAMCO Transmissions Pole position, were up for grabs for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500. And while very exciting, the new format made for a bittersweet day for Vision Racing when driver Tomas Scheckter qualified his No. 2 Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the top 10 for the race, but teammates Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt IV were unable make today's top 11, despite a valiant effort. Fourth team driver Davey Hamilton did not attempt a qualifying run.
Scheckter's one and only qualifying attempt early in the day proved to be enough to withstand the "bumping" that took place in the final hour. The 10th place starting position is just another highlight in his lively history at Indianapolis.
Scheckter has led 148 laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (85 in 2002 and 63 in 2003) and was named the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 2002. His average finish at the famed Brickyard is 19h after finishing in 27th in 2006 (accident), 20th in 2005 (accident) 18th in 2004 (running), fourth in 2003 (running) and 26th in 2002 (accident). In addition to the fourth place finish in 2003, Scheckter's other Indianapolis 500 highlights include a trio of 10th place starts in 2002, 2004 and now 2007. He's never started the Indianapolis 500 higher than the 12th position. He will be making his sixth Indianapolis 500 start this May.
Carpenter's first attempt was also the team's first on the day. His average of 222.652 mph in the No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools special stood on the "bubble" for much of the afternoon, but as qualification attempts heated up in the final two hours of practice, Carpenter was "bumped" from the field. His second attempt within in the final 30 minutes of Pole Day qualifications was quicker, but not enough to bump Michael Andretti out of the 11th position. Carpenter's second attempt was 13th quick on the day at an average of 222.685 mph.
A.J. Foyt IV also attempted one qualifying attempt early this afternoon, but his 221.467 mph average in the No. 22 car was not enough to land him in the top 11 on the starting grid.
Meanwhile Davey Hamilton in the No. 02 HP Vision Racing special did not make a qualifying attempt today.
The remaining three Vision Racing entries driven by Carpenter, Foyt and Hamilton will vie for spots 12 through 22 in tomorrow's second round of qualifying.
Tomas Scheckter -- No. 2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On qualifying: "We've got a good car and it was a decent run for me, but I think that's about as much as we had. I'm really happy for the guys that we could get the car in the show today. A 10th place run is just a testament to how hard this team is working to improve. I'm happy with how we did, I'm glad it's behind me and now I'm ready to focus on setting up a good race car next week."
Ed Carpenter -- No. 20 Hitachi Power Tools Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On Qualifying: "We'll definitely be back out first thing tomorrow. We've got the speed so hopefully we can be the 12th fastest out there. It's a little disappointing we didn't get in today. When we went out to practice this afternoon I was able to click off a couple of laps better than 223 so I thought we had it. It's just disappointing because we tried to get this Hitachi Power Tools and Lowe's car in there on the first day, but it didn't happen. I'm disappointed for the guys as they tried so hard to help me get in there, but the good thing is we have Tomas (Scheckter) in there and we'll get after it tomorrow."
A.J. Foyt IV -- No. 22 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On Qualifying: "We dropped off in qualifying from what we did in the morning, but with the conditions always changing at this place, that can to happen. It definitely wasn't the speed we wanted to show as we've shown better speed in the week, so we'll just wait until tomorrow and give it another shot then."
Davey Hamilton -- No. 02 HP Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone
On Practice: "Today was easy for me! We went out and did a few laps this morning, but we didn't attempt to qualify today. We just didn't have the speed for that. I had a little vibration in the car, left over from yesterday actually, so we went in and tore the car apart, then went back out this afternoon and things felt better. We seemed to have solved the vibration issue, so now we just need to go back out tomorrow and try and get the HP car in this race. I need to find a little bit more speed so hopefully we can find another mile an hour tomorrow."