The back of the grid was formed today for this years Indianapolis 500 and topping the time sheet was Newman Haas Lanigan’s Robert Doornbos. After a disasterous first weekend of qualifications, the second NHL car put up a speed of 221.692.
The day got off to a wet start as a cold front came through the region last night and into this morning causing heavy rain to fall on the speedway. E.J. Viso was the first car out at about 3:35 eastern and a number of variables played into the early runs. The wind was gusting at about 15 to 20 mph which caused a few very close calls and the track temperature caused for some slower times. Townsend Bell was second fastest today which proved very impressive as he was a second week effort in his KV Racing machine.
Nelson Philippe had the first close call of the day when his machine received a very nasty wind gust in the third corner pushing him all the way to the wall. Luckily he was able to control the car and set it right but finished in the 32nd spot. Milka Duno provided the closest call of the day as she did or very nearly brushed the wall. Milka aborted that particular run after she let off nearly every corner causing laps at 217 and 212.
Ryan Hunter-Reay finally put his Vision Racing machine in the field but had next to nothing positive to say about the car. It was also mentioned during the Vs. telecast that the #20 Vision machine piloted by Ed Carpenter had no similarities to Hunter-Reay’s car and therefore could not share set-up data making it even more difficult to get a handle on. John Andretti also finally put the #43 Window World Richard Petty entry into the field at a speed of 219.442.
The ones on the outside looking in are Bruno Junqueira, Buddy Lazier, and NASCAR drop out Stanton Barrett. They will try and bump their way into the field tomorrow as time trials wrap up for the month. Junqueira finished the deal this morning with Conquest Racing and has seen no track time thus far. Barrett made an unsuccessful attempt at the very end of the day and well I believe it to be no surprise that he sits on the outside of the grid.
Tomorrow will prove to be a busy day as I am rather certain that Bruno will get into the field and equally certain that Stanton Barrett will not. He has been dead slow all month and dead slow at every other event this year…so why is tomorrow going to be any different? Don’t worry, it won’t. Buddy Lazier has the talent and the team to get ahead of a couple IndyCar regulars and people like Milka Duno need to be very concerned at this point. While watching the telecast today I though it amazing that Robbie Buhl did not have a heart attack when any of his cars went out. However, it would probably help if he shut up while working the booth or he needs to take a spot on the pit wall because to be rather honest…it bugged me to hear him every time one of his cars went on track. Perhaps if he hired good drivers and not ones that have money and are garbage, he would not have to sit and watch his team implode on national television. The weather forecast is good for tomorrow and we shall see frantic action from about 4:30 until the track officially closes at 6:00 eastern time. Open Paddock will have full bump day results ready tomorrow after it happens.