The final bumping line began in earnest just after 5:00. Cory Witherell moved into 32nd position at 221.621 mph. Stephan Gregoire, who has been fast in his new ride but battled gremlins all day, made good on his third attempt with a strong...
The final bumping line began in earnest just after 5:00. Cory Witherell moved into 32nd position at 221.621 mph. Stephan Gregoire, who has been fast in his new ride but battled gremlins all day, made good on his third attempt with a strong 222.888 mph.
Jimmy Kite, Airton Dare and Shigeaki Hattori (the latter two having been bumped) waved off attempts.
Tom Kelley, remembering his long friendhip with Lee Brayton, offered a spare Kelly Racing car to Brayton Racing's Memo Gidley. Scott Sharp shook the car down and turned it over to Gidley. Gidley, with few laps in the car, presented himself with about half an hour to go. He picked up speed on each qualifying lap but did not get fast enough to take the run.
As rumors of the second Derrick Walker car being for sale bounced harmlessly around the garage area, Richie Hearn took a wave-off in the Tri-Star car.
Roberto Guerrero, bumped out earlier today, waved off an attmpt to bump back in.
With 20 minutes to go, and bubble-sitter Billy Boat waiting in a backup car with his helmet on, Jimmy Kite took his third attempt. His speed of 220.884 mph was not enough to put the McCormack car into the field.
Felipe Giaffone, bumped out earlier, took a stab at getting a backup car in, but was well short on speed and waved off quickly, clearing the track for Didier Andre to make another attempt. Andre also fell short and waved off.
As Hattori ran his warmup laps for another attempt, rumors about Walker's spare car came to fruition and Casey Mears was pushed into line in the #25.
Hattori clocked 221.467 mph, just short of taking the bubble position away from Boat.
With five minutes to go, Boat was out of his backup car, waiting to see how Casey Mears, in what seemed to be the final attempt of the day, would do.
Mears did not go fast enough, and was waved off with 30 seconds to go, letting Memo Gidley hit the track for the final qualifying attempt for this year's 500.
Gidley used every inch of the track, but fell short. Smiling at last, Billy Boat said "This is the most intense six hours I've spent in my life."
<A href="http://motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=64921">Click here for qualifying speeds</A>
After rain washed out Saturday practice, Bubble Day dawned clear and dry.
Car and driver juggling was in full force. Stephan Greqoire, who couldnot get up to speed in his original Dick Simon ride, moved to Heritage Motorsports, where he regained his confidence with speeds over 223 mph.
Richie Hearn will attempt to qualify Tyce Carlson's backup car should Carlson's primary car (31st fastest qualifier) be bumped.
First out at noon EST was Billy Boat, filling the field with a lap average of 221.528 mph. The field is full, with seven cas between Boat and the Bubble.
Jimmy Kite and Cory Witherill took attempts, but neither had the speed and both waved off.
Eliseo Salazar, whose run last week was spoiled by a blown engine on his fourth lap, put his A.J. Foyt #14 into the field at 223.740, bumping Guerrero.
With two cars safely in the field, Donnie Beechler went out in a third Foyt car. Beechler blistered the track at 224.449 mph, the fifth fastest in the entire field.
Raul Boesel put the third Treadway car comfortably into the field at 221.879 mph.
Stephan Gegoire showed good speed in his first attempt - almost 223 mph. But when he got high in Turn 3, the team waved off the attempt and brought the car in for a wing adjustment.
At 12:35 EST, the initial qualifying line was empty and the track was open for practice.
Stephan Gregoire's car was pushed back into line as a light cloud cover formed. The practice session was cut short as Gregoire took a second qualifying attempt. The car had better balance (no threats of wall contact this time) but less speed, and the run was waved off.
With the first round of qualifying activity over just before 1:00 EST, the track was again opened for practice.
By late afternoon, Airton Dare had been bumped out, then bumped himself back in again.