Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bump Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The field is set for the 97th Indianapolis 500. Americans Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal qualified for the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth positions on the grid with four lap averages of 225.731 MPH and 225.007 MPH. Sebastián Saavedra rounded out row nine at 224.929 MPH.

Row ten features the lone full-time IndyCar rookie Tristan Vautier and the Dale Coyne teammates Ana Beatriz and Pippa Mann. In 2011, Beatriz and Mann both started on the same row with Mann starting thirty-first and Beatriz starting thirty-second.

The last row party will feature a rookie, a past Indianapolis 500 winner and the last driver added to the entry list. Conor Daly starts thirty-first after a rough first outing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had an accident on Thursday and had an engine failure on his first qualifying attempt Saturday afternoon. Daly finally put it in the field Sunday with a four lap average of 223.582 MPH. Buddy Lazier qualified for his first Indianapolis 500 since 2008. The 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner will be competing in his seventeenth Indianapolis 500, the most of any driver in the field. Katherine Legge showed up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and qualified on Sunday for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at 223.176 MPH. Legge lost her Dragon Racing ride over the winter to Sebastián Saavedra and recently ran the DeltaWing at Laguna Seca in the American Le Mans Series. This will be Legge's second career Indianapolis 500 start. She finished twenty-second last year after starting thirtieth.

Michel Jourdain Jr. failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. The Mexican driver was trying to make his third career Indianapolis 500 and second consecutive start at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jourdain stepped out of the car with a little over fifteen minutes remaining after the crew was not able to find the set up to make the field of thirty-three.

This will be the third Indianapolis 500 to feature four women drivers. In 2010, Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher all qualified while Milka Duno failed to make it. The following year Fisher retired to start a family but Pippa Mann qualified joining Beatriz, de Silvestro and Patrick.

Seventeen Chevrolets and sixteen Hondas will take the green flag next Sunday with thirty-three drivers representing thirteen countries (11 Americans, 4 English, 3 French, 3 Brazilians, 2 Australians, 2 Canadians, 2 Colombians, 1 New Zealander, 1 Scot, 1 Swiss, 1 Spaniard, 1 Japanese and 1 Venezuelan). Four past winners look to add their likeness to the Borg-Warner Trophy one more time and four rookies will make their first start in the Indianapolis 500.