Bump Day sets field of 33 for Sunday's race

-รก Indianapolis - As is the norm with Bump day, the final day of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500, there were a few surprises Sunday, as the final nine spots of the field of 33 were set.

One of the surprises was the new found speed that some teams brought to the table when it came time to qualifying. It wasn't just the speed that was surprising, but, in some cases, the teams which found it.

One driver who found a great deal of extra speed was rookie, George Mack. Mack qualified at an average speed of 227.150 mph for a spot in the middle of the back row. Mack had only exceeded 225 mph a couple of times throughout the month in practice.

After his run on Sunday, Mack explained his team's troubles throughout the month.

"We were behind because we had mechanical issues and other issues at the beginning of the month. I've been playing catch-up the whole time," Mack said. "I just wanted to get to a point where I could get in the race."

With his run, Mack becomes only the second African-American to drive in the Indianapolis 500.

Another somewhat surprising run was that of Shigeaki Hattori who finished his run with an average of 228.192 mph. Some of Hattori's fastest times thus far for the month of May have been in the 221-222 mph range.

"The car was good but, but the engine was fantastic," Hattori said. "I'm so happy right now, I think I will sleep well tonight."

In the morning practice session, two-time winner, Arie Luyendyk posted the fastest times in the mid-229 mph range. Luyendyk's speed followed when it came to qualification for the Dutchman. Luyendyk secured a spot on the outside of row 8 with an average speed of 228.848 mph.

"The conditions were really perfect today," Luyendyk said after his run.

"Thursday we practiced here with both cars and ran both cars in the 225 (mph) range, and that was with old tires."

Luyendyk explained that those times on Thursday gave the team a sense of comfort and thus decided not to practice on Friday with high winds.

Perhaps the most daring move of the day came from one of the most seasoned drivers in the field, Michael Andretti who will start his 13th 500 on Sunday.

On Pole Day, Andretti qualified 23rd with an average of 226.780 mph. As qualifications went underway Sunday, it was almost obvious that his time would not stand.

Andretti spent some of the tracks free minutes practicing in the early afternoon. After running some laps in his backup car, Andretti and his team withdrew their first qualification attempt so he could try again with his backup car.

Andretti improved his speed to 228.713 mph. The faster time dropped Andretti two spots in the field, but made it nearly impossible to get bumped, a security he had been looking for all week.

"We thought we were going to get bumped, and we knew we had a pretty fast car, so we thought we had better go out," Andretti said. "We had a lot of faith in that car; we worked on a setup all week."

Many eyes were focused on A.J. Foyt's team cars as both Greg Ray and Airton Dare failed to qualify on Pole Day. That wasn't the case, however on Sunday. Ray secured a spot on the back row as his teammate, Dare, will start on the 10th row next Sunday.

"We went pretty conservative on our setup," Dare said. "We didn't have the car trimmed out as much as we could have. We didn't have the qualifying motor in, just a regular motor. A.J. just wanted to get in the show."


More from The Daily

This Week's Digital Issue

Loading Recent Classifieds...