Kanaan makes his way into Indy field in final hour

Kanaan makes his way into Indy field in final hour

Andretti Autosports' Tony Kanaan found new life when his crew borrowed parts from teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay's already qualified No. 37 car and repaired the Indy veteran's No. 11T backup car sufficiently to allow him to get into the Indianapolis...

Andretti Autosports' Tony Kanaan found new life when his crew borrowed parts from teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay's already qualified No. 37 car and repaired the Indy veteran's No. 11T backup car sufficiently to allow him to get into the Indianapolis 500. Kanaan struck the SAFER barrier at the south end of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the same car in the early Sunday morning practice prior to Bump Day qualifications. The 2004 IndyCar Series champion destroyed his primary care during a qualification attempt on Saturday at roughly the same location on the raceway. Kanaan's four-lap average speed of 224.072 mph in the final hour before the 6:00 PM EDT close of the Speedway's qualifying attempts was good enough to put him on the middle of row eleven, in the 32nd of the allotted 33 spots on the grid.

Tony Kanaan, Andretti Autosport receives qualifying instructions from Brian Barnhardt, President of Competition & Racing Operations.
Photo by Michael C. Johnson.

"It was very stressful," offered a relieved Kanaan. "We definitely did something wrong to deserve all this trouble. I guess I will enjoy the last row party and have some fun, get some money, then go get some more."

Sarah Fisher drove her own No. 67 car into the Indianapolis 500 on the strength of a 224.434 mph four-lap average, giving the fledgling team a place on-track for the race. Fisher becomes the fastest of four women qualifiers for the 94th Indianapolis 500. Teammate Jay Howard qualified for the race on Saturday, then again on Sunday, only to be bumped out of the field in the final hour. "I never thought this would happen," said a dejected Howard. "The car did not feel good in that last run, but I was confident we could do a good time. I wasn't going to let someone take it away from me, but it is what it is."

Sebastian Saavedra spun the Bryan Herta Autosport machine in Turn 1 and struck the wall while "on the bubble" at 4:50 PM. The car could not be repaired in time for Saavedra to defend his 223.634 mph mark. In a twist of fate that included being bumped three times in the last hour, by drivers who subsequently withdrew their times in attempts to better their speed, Saavedra survived to make the last spot on the starting grid.

A monstrous gaffe by KV Racing Technology left a popular Canadian driver on the outside looking in. Paul Tracy withdrew a qualifying average speed of 223.892 mph which would have been good enough for the last spot in the field in the last quarter-hour of the day, only to find insufficient speed to make his way back into the race. "It's heartbreaking," said Tracy. "The frustrating thing is the car was quick, but when the heat came we just lost all the speed and the handling went out of it. We just couldn't get the balance right when we needed it."

Takumo Sato of Lotus/KV Racing Technology was re-evaluated at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis on Sunday morning before being cleared to drive at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sato worked his way to the inside position on the eleventh row on a speed of 224.178 mph.

Bruno Junqueira found a sponsor to put him in the cockpit of the No. 33 FAZZT Racing on Sunday, just in time to post a 225.662 mph speed, fastest on the day and good enough to claim the 25th spot on the grid at the inside of the ninth row. The team had already filed an entry for him prior to Opening Day for the May 30 Indy 500 race date.

John Andretti in the Richard Petty/Andretti Autosports No. 43 machine was first out onto the 2.5-mile oval today, putting in a four-lap qualification attempt at 224.518 mph to enter the field. He will start from the inside position of the tenth row in 28th.

A.J. Foyt IV exited the A.J. Foyt Enterprises No. 41 cockpit and headed home but the team did not give up and Indy veteran Jacques Lazier was in the right place at the right time to replace him. Lazier was unable to make a mark in the No. 41 car fast enough to make the 33-car field. Crowd-pleaser Milka Duno in the second Dale Coyne Racing machine also failed to reach qualifying speed.

Sunshine and warm temperatures kept speeds in general lower on Sunday as downforce and horsepower suffered from the heat. At 4:00 PM the ambient temperature at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was recorded by Firestone engineers at 92 degrees Fahrenheit, with a track temperature of 124 degrees Fahrenheit.

Those who made it onto the Indy 500 grid will travel to New York City for a photo shoot on Monday putting the Brickyard dark for on-track activity until Thursday, when the Indy Lights Series drivers will practice and qualify for the Carb Day Freedom 100 scheduled for May 28. Wednesday is Community Day, the one day a year that fans can travel the historic oval in their personal vehicles and tour normally limited-access areas of IMS such as timing & scoring, the garages and the luxury suites that overlook the pits along the main straightaway.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , John Andretti , Sarah Fisher , A.J. Foyt IV , Jaques Lazier  , Bruno Junqueira , Paul Tracy , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Richard Petty , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Jay Howard , Sebastian Saavedra , Dale Coyne , A.J. Foyt
Teams Andretti Autosport , A.J. Foyt Enterprises , Bryan Herta Autosport , KV Racing Technology , Dale Coyne Racing