Roth fills Indy field
Twenty-two drivers qualified for the 92nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, filling starting positions 12-33 on the grid and setting up a Bump Day that should feature three drivers attempting to earn their way into the field.
Townsend Bell posted the fastest qualifying effort of the day, averaging 222.539 mph in four laps around the historic 2.5-mile oval to earn the 12th starting position, the outside of Row 4.
The first 11 positions were determined May 10 when Scott Dixon won the pole with an average speed of 226.366 mph.
Row 5 will feature rookie Graham Rahal, A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver Darren Manning and 2002 pole sitter Bruno Junqueira. 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice qualified 17th, and 1996 winner Buddy Lazier is 32nd.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Marty Roth qualified 33rd, averaging 215.506 mph in the final qualifying attempt of the day, nine minutes before the end of the session.
INDYCAR SERIES POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Dreyer & Reinbold William Rast Racing, qualified 12th): “We always say, ‘Well we just want to be comfortably in the show.’ But when you get out there, it’s one less car you have to pass if you can get a good run in. We just nipped (Graham Rahal). He had a big first lap then slowed down a lot. We had a decent first lap then slowed down a little. We knew we wanted a consistent four-lap run. I’m just really happy with the job the team’s done all month. Can’t thank my teammate, Buddy Rice, enough for his cooperation, help and willingness to work together to get our cars right. So it’s been a really good deal so far. I’m just pleased to see us have a strong run today.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps, qualified 13th): “It was actually a pretty good run. It was a bit tough, because my first lap was solid at 223.6 (mph), but the laps after that I could just feel (the wind) every time I went through Turn 2. I couldn’t get the car to turn, so I had to lift every time. It was a pretty big lift, too, and it costs you a lot of time. Obviously, we’re disappointed with that, but after last weekend it is nice to put it into the race. Obviously, we would like to be among the quickest of the day, and that is the goal.”
DARREN MANNING (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Racing, qualified 14th): “It was really good. I’ve been struggling with my car all month, and that’s the best it’s been. I’ve been loose all month, and then all of a sudden we made a few changes and then I had understeer. You know the day’s not very nice with all this wind and the temperature has been getting up there, so we were a bit cautious on downforce. So we were actually surprised to go so fast, but it was just because the car was that much better. I had to actually come off the gas a little on Turn 2 on the last lap, which dropped me out of fastest for the day. But with the downforce we got in, you know, we’re nearly on race setup, so that really bodes well for the race. The last lap, we were on for fastest of the day, I just got out of the gas a little on exit of Turn 2. I could have probably stayed in and gotten close to the wall. I haven’t been very happy with my car. Jeff (Simmons) had been able to go his way on setup, and I’ve been able to go mine. He was more happy with his setup, so I tried it this morning, and I hated it. So we went back to a bit more of what I wanted for this qualifying run. I’ve been loose all month and it’s been trying to spin me out, and then just now all of a sudden it’s got a lot of push, so we found some really good changes in the car. I’m pretty happy. We’ve got a pretty damn good car. We had a couple more changes we thought through that worked really well – too well – because we went from loose to a little bit of push now. So we had quite a lot of downforce in the car in the race setup in qualifying because I was so unhappy with the car. If we had had this care on Pole Day, really trimmed out, we’d have been well in the top 11. It was that good. It’s been a to ugh month. We were behind the 8-ball. I was going to be happy with 12th to 18th. We’re in the show, so now we’ll go back and think about it a little and see if we can run some good, competitive race runs. I think I’m going to be faster than the guys around me, and it’s a long race, so we should be all right.”
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 18 Z-Line Designs, qualified 15th): “This is a pretty special place, and I like it here. I have great success here. I’ve had some problems, but still, I know why they call this the greatest. The pole, the two top-five finishes. Today was another great day. I couldn’t qualify in the top 11 last weekend and it rained out on Sunday, so it put a lot of pressure on the team, especially because we don’t have a backup car. I tried to put the car safely in the field. I was very happy with my four laps. Very consistent. Almost the same speed as the Newman-Haas car. More consistent than them, and I’m not trying to compare anything, but it shows that you’re going to be good today and the car is good. It was a difficult day today because it was very windy. That time could win the race, and now we’re going to concentrate a little more on traffic and race setup this week. I want to get in traffic and make sure the car is there in traffic. That is pretty difficult. I’m satisfied. I was easily flat all four laps. I know I can take out more downforce and go 223s, but at this point, we would only gain three or four positions and take a big risk.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team, qualified 16th): “It was tough. Every corner was different and difficult. Turn 2 was the worst. Every time you turned in there, if felt like the front end was lifted off the ground and skated off the track. You’re reluctant to lift, but you have to, so you do a quick lift and back on. I was actually quite frustrated with a couple of my laps. It feels good to get in the show, but I wanted to go again. I think we could do a much better job the second time around. But that’s quite a gamble. It’s great to finally qualify for the Indy 500. I’m very proud and pleased with the team and the effort they’ve put in all month and all year, in fact. It feels great for McDonald’s and myself to get in the race, and now we can get going.”
BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified 17th): “We are set up conservative. I think it is good we got all three Dreyer & Reinbold cars in today. That was the goal for today. There is nothing to be gained by risking the car. Actually, it is really good that Townsend (Bell) is the quickest so far with the #99 William Rast car. It was a good day for the team.” (About Bell’s run): “I didn’t see exactly what he ran, but both cars were set up very similar. My car picked up more push and really slowed down. That’s OK. There’s no risk today. It is a 500-mile race. We have 10 pit stops. We have a lot of work to do starting from where we are at, anyway. We need to be patient. We need to get back to working on our race car, which we’ve been doing all month long. That will be our strong suit. It gets a bit redundant because that’s what everybody says. If you can get your car to run consistent through the whole thing, then you’re going to have a really good car. We did that at Kansas, and we’ve been doing that since we’ve been here. The weather makes it a bit tricky, especially for some of the new guys that are here. It is a bit tricky. I’m happy. We got all three cars in today. That was the goal. Knock on wood – we haven’t torn anything up yet this month.”
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 22 Hewlett-Packard/KR Vision Racing, qualified 18th): “It’s the hardest run I’ve ever ran here, for sure. Last Saturday, we had a good 13th spot, and I was happy with that. But, unfortunately they only took 11. We came out today and it was a tough day. We went out for early warm-up, and we lost a gearbox completely. Something happened. We lost a gearbox completely. It got caught between gears, and with paddle shifters, it doesn’t happen that often. When it did, it broke the whole gearbox. The (Ed) Carpenter guys, (A.J.) Foyt’s guys, my guys all jumped in and replaced the whole back of my car. We didn’t even have a chance to put it on the setup pad. We just changed the whole back of the car, put it on the track and throw it up there, so I didn’t know what I was going to have. It was just too tight. I just couldn’t turn down in (Turn) 1 and (Turn) 2. Turn 3 and 4 were OK. We lost a little bit, but you take what you can.”
ALEX LLOYD (No. 16 Rahal Letterman with Chip Ganassi, qualified 19th): “”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol, qualified 20th): “I’m not happy with the speed that we turned, but I’m happy to be in the field and we can work from there. If we have a good race car, we can undo those couple positions in a lap or two.” (On the wind affecting the run): “I don’t think so. For whatever reason, we’re not getting the speed we need out of the car. I don’t know; I’m not sure why. It could be so many things with these cars. It’s all a grip-to-aerodynamics trade-off. If you peel off the downforce, you go faster in a straighter line but you have less grip in the corners. I’m not an engineer, and I don’t pretend to be one. I just get in the car, put my foot on the floor and drive.”
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 24 Roth Racing, qualified 21st): “I messed up a little bit. Probably should have given up a little bit in one corner. I keep adjusting on the car; that made it better. Then I tried to get too much out of the last lap again. We had a really quick car, and we just got caught out a little bit on the wind and probably just need to make a couple of changes to the car and try it again. I don’t know if we will or not. It just depends on where we are. If we get close down to that bubble position, then obviously we will. We have been fast every day, but unfortunately when it came time to qualify, I knew on my hot lap that I was in a little bit of trouble, and I started adjusting on the car then and kept adjusting on it, and I had about all I could stand for one corner. It is a little disappointing because on the last lap I probably could have drove it a little bit different. I am disappointed I know we have a quicker car, and I went out there and we had a little bit of a struggle with the wind, but that is just the way it is.”
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Racing, qualified 22nd): “It’s not as fast as we wanted it to be, but we’ll take it. We’ll take a good, solid entrant, and just keep working on our car. It was very gusty out there. That’s what happened on my lap two; otherwise we would’ve had a higher finish, but it is what it is. It’s nice, though. It’s supposed to rain again today, but hopefully it’s good. We’re in, and we can keep moving forward. Only having one car, we think about what the most tragic thing that could happen. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to work on those on-the-edge setups anymore. We’ve just been putting our heads down and plowing forward. If we can avoid the rain again, we’ll be putting a lot of race laps on the car.”
WILL POWER (No. 8 Aussie Vineyard-Team Australia, qualified 23rd): “I’m really proud of the crew. They worked all night. I can’t thank them enough to actually have the car out there for practice. But it was once again the same as yesterday. The wind makes it really difficult. The last lap there, I started pushing in (Turn) 2 toward the wall; turn into (Turn) 3 and suddenly have a massive moment. You’ve got to run the car conservatively. That’s what we were doing today. We were going out there just to get in.” (On experiencing the changing conditions at the Speedway): “The first three days were pretty wind-free, to be honest. But then yesterday just out on an out lap, bam, it catches you out, and you don’t know what you did wrong. It’s ‘what did I do wrong?’ which makes it really bad for your confidence. You’re thinking: ‘OK, the guys just fixed the car. Well, I can go out tomorrow and do exactly the same thing because one lap it’s pushing like hell; the next lap you’re in the wall. You tell me.’” (On putting the accident Friday behind him and going back out today): “It’s funny, actually. I ran into Jaime Camara, and he said he still hasn’t come back. I can understand. You go out, and you just can’t trust the rear of the car. I went out and I just came straight back in and said, ‘Guys, I can’t do it. Sorry, I feel too nervous.’ I got back in there and did a run where I was flat and got a little bit of confidence back. It’s hard to explain. It’s real nerve-racking. When you hit the wall; until you do that, you don’t know the feeling. It’s an instant where it just happens, and you have no chance to catch it and no warning. That’s what makes you really nervous. I guess these other guys that run here that have been doing it for five years must r! really understand, you know, the feeling and how the car should be.”
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 41 AJ Foyt Racing, qualified 24th): “It feels good to be in. We wish we were quicker. I thought we could run around a 222, which would have moved us up a couple of spots. Coming to the track, I didn’t know if I was going to have a ride at all, so I’m really thankful for A.J. Foyt Racing and ABC Supply Co. for giving me the opportunity to run.” (About his first run, which was waved off): “I came into Turns 3 and 4, I think I was coming into (Turn) 4 when I saw yellow lights turn on so I didn’t know what was going on. And we came in, and A.J. told me they forgot to wave the green flag. I think he might have had a senior moment for the first time because he’s usually so sharp. He (A.J.) was congratulating Darren on his run, and he missed me when I went by.”
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 5 KV Racing Technology, qualified 25th): “I’m actually not that pleased with my run. The weather really didn’t help us. I’m just happy to be in the show. The car felt good yesterday in my race setup, and that’s what counts. It’s a long race, and the tires were pretty consistent yesterday, and we look forward to the race.” (About having the rain interrupt the qualifying run): “It just didn’t help us because already when you are qualifying, you’re pretty much on the edge. I go out there in qualifying, very little downforce, and on my third lap it starts raining. Well, that’s not good, but then to make it worse, I have to be the first car out with the track still a little wet because nobody had gone out, right? I wasn’t able to change my downforce because of the rules. So I had to go out. The car w as sliding a little too much. But that’s the way it goes. I’m happy to be in the show. To me, it doesn’t really matter much if you’re starting 12th or starting 18th. What matters is if you have a good car in the race that is consistent and you can run close to people in front of you. That’s what we need to focus on. If you have a good car, you can win the race. I liked the car yesterday. I wasn’t too happy today, but I did like it yesterday when we had the race setup, so we should be good.”
E.J. VISO (No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing, qualified 26th): “In this first attempt, we tried to play it safe. We went out with a lot of downforce. We spent a lot of time checking everything. We are planning on going for another attempt. Yesterday we had small contact with the wall. The wind changed so much, and the setup was quite different to the one I had run before. We spent 10-15 minutes in the car today waiting for the rain to go away, and then we did not have our best attempt.” (On repairing the car from Friday’s accident): “The team did a great job and worked very hard yesterday. We weren’t in a huge accident; we just damaged the rear wing. They spent a lot of time checking and making sure the car was perfect for today.” (On mindset after accident): “It has not affected me. I think I am mentally stronger, and that small touch with the wall is not going to affect my confidence. We just need to find the reasons why it happened and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Yesterday everything looked the same, and the only thing different in that run was that we were full of fuel and the tire pressure was low because it was only our second lap.”
MILKA DUNO (No. 23 CITGO/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, qualified 27th): “It’s great to qualify in Indianapolis. The wind was in tow in the backstraight, and it was increasing and increasing. I’m happy, but I think we can run quicker. But it’s OK for now.” (About her time at the track this May): “It’s fantastic for me. It is my second time here. It’s always fun here, and it’s just fantastic.”
MARIO MORAES (No. 19 Sonny’s Bar-B-Q, qualified 28th): “We had some problems on the second lap in Turn 2. We had trouble on the second lap in Turn 2 with big understeer. It’s my first time here, second qualifying, and I feel good, I’m excited.” (About being comfortable with qualifying time): “I am comfortable, but we are going to have to fix the problem with the front.”
ENRIQUE BERNOLDI (No. 36 Sangari Conquest Racing, qualified 29th): “I did flat out all four laps, but the car is just not very fast. We don’t know what it is, but we’ll continue to work on it. I have to try again, and I wish I knew what to do. I’m not very happy. I just did 219 and was consistent, but we need to find more speed. I haven’t run faster than 220 this month. The wind is a bit tricky out there. On one side of the track you would have a car that was loose, and the other end the car was pushing. I don’t have much experience on ovals and same with the team, so we are sort of struggling, but I like this oval and Indianapolis. We knew we would be here a month, but we haven’t done much better than this, so it is what it is.”
JAIME CAMARA (No. 34 Sangari, qualified 30th): “This track is not easy, for me at least it is not easy. We need to find a little bit more speed. (How did the wind effect you?): “You feel the wind, you feel the heat. The track conditions change every lap, if a cloud comes over the track it changes again. This place is big enough and it changes a lot. We need to find some speed, so we are going to go back and work. Today is the first day everything is going smooth, we just need to find a little bit more speed. (How hard is it coming back from a crash?): “For me it is really hard, I just have to suck it up and go. It is just getting out there and having seat time and track time and figure it out again. Time is everything, it is about track time.”
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 98 CURB Records/hh gregg/Real Power, qualified 31st): “I think things could be better. Unfortunately, we’re about a half a mile an hour slower than we expected, so I’m not sure this 218 is going to hold up at this point, but it’s great. If not, we’re going to have to work on some speed. The car has been the best all week during the qualifying runs, so we’re pretty happy with that. We just need to bring the car out now and see if we can pick up more speed.”
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Hemelgarn Johnson, qualified 32nd): “The strategy with the new format is to run one. We just started yesterday, so we have a lot of work to do. We had a good morning. The weather changed and affected a lot of guys. I think it affected us more.” (About the speed he expected): “We were looking for 221 (mph). We were hoping for certainly more than that (217.939).”
MARTY ROTH (No. 25 Roth Racing, qualified 33rd): “I’m just wondering why I threw away the 219 I had this morning. That's just how it goes. We were chasing that 222 (mph) we posted first thing this morning. We were kind of happy. The guys had been working all night. They were up to 2 in the morning on the car, just going through things. They were uncovering a whole bunch of stuff. We were really happy we had the car up to that 222 mark. We really thought we could get it back there. As the day wore on, the temperatures and wind came up, and we were just going backward. It was great to put it in the field. I'm real glad John (Andretti) is up there. He's safe. I'm used to being on the bubble. It makes for a long day tomorrow. Larry Curry joined our organization just before the month of May started. He has done a wonderful job. We've gone through a lot of things that were happening on the team. He's had his hands full. We're just looking to get my car up to speed. I'm just chasing that little guy around, John. He's fast. He's impressive." (About the slow qualifying attempt): "It just required a big gear change, and we didn't have time for it. My revs were nowhere near up to the revs I needed to pull down that back straightaway. I'd exit Turn 2, and I would drop in speed rather than accelerate. The wind was gusting. I wish, in hindsight, we kept that time we had this morning. We were kind of blindsided by that 222 (mph). Looking at the afternoon, it is fairly plain to see just about everybody fell way back and wasn't close to the times they were posting this morning." (About being on the bubble): "I've been on the bubble before. I'm no stranger to it. I'm sure it is going to be an exciting day tomorrow as long as the weather stays nice. I'm just happy to be here." (About the track conditions changing): "It always turns something new up for me and challenges me. It is Indy. It is the fastest place. It is t! he greatest race. It has so many different facets that happen during the month with the qualifying and bump days. It is a great place and a great venue.”