Indy Bump Day - Roth in as Dominguez crashes
When the dust settled, Max Papis, Phil Giebler, Roger Yasukawa and Mario Dominguez went home, while AJ Foyt IV, Buddy Lazier and Marty Roth made the 2008 Indy 500.
|Mario Dominguez's day ended against the wall|
Bump day Happy Hour started at 5:30 pm, when Buddy Lazier waved off a run at 217.191, over 8/10 mph slower than the bubble speed of Roger Yasukawa (218.010).
Following Lazier's run, Mario Dominguez qualified at 218.620, putting him into the field, albeit on the bubble. This bumped Roger Yasukawa, who was already in tech by the time Dominguez took the green flag. Dominguez appeared to be on the edge of control the entire run, so it was safe to say there was nothing left on the track in terms of speed, a point that Dominguez would prove at the end of the day.
Yasukawa's next attempt also verged on disaster the entire four laps, and while his speed was some 6/10 mph faster than his previous qualifying speed he failed to bump Dominguez by a only .061 mph -- perhaps the effect of hitting a bug during the run.
|AJ Foyt IV hits the wall hard|
Immediately after that run, Buddy Lazier was pushed through tech, and with 13 minutes to go he started another qualifying attempt. This time the 1996 Indy 500 winner made no doubts about being in the show, putting down a knuckle-biting run of 219.015, bumping Dominguez from the field and putting Marty Roth on the bubble.
Yasukawa took the track again with shadows growing and the wind slightly less than earlier in the hour, but failed to match his earlier speed or come close to the speed posted by Marty Roth.
As the gun was readied to end qualification attempts, Mario Dominguez pulled onto the track for one last attempt. With all of Mexico rooting him on, he put down a first lap of 219.780, but crashed in turn one on his 2nd lap. Checkers or wreckers, and this weekend, the wreckers always won, and this is the second time in 2 days that the car hit the wall.
At the end, Bump Day didn't change much — the only change is the substitution of AJ IV for Roger Yasukawa in the lineup. Marty Roth will still start in 33rd spot, Dominguez had a wrecked car, and Buddy Lazier will start in 32nd. It wasn't the high drama of previous years, but it certainly highlighted the agony of defeat. Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy
INDYCAR SERIES POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:
A.J. FOYT IV (#2 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (Does it feel good to finally get it in?): "Yes, it does. I have always had exciting qualifying runs around here. I put four laps in the books; it still is not 6 o'clock yet, so I am not in the show." (How hard is it to put in four good laps around this speedway?): "It is not easy. Each corner you have to approach a little bit differently. It is really tough, especially the speed that you carry around here, is not easy at all." (Describing the last 24 hours here at the track): "Yes, it was very frustrating the last 24 hours. That is the way it works around here. Just glad to get out there and put four laps in. (Describe this month, what have been the issues?): "It's been hard to get a hold of. The weather conditions, just when you think you are going to get some track time, it starts to rain. We just never had a good grip on the track. W e need the track time that we were missing, but that is the way it works. We finally got a handle on it, put in four decent laps, and we will have to wait to see what happens." (About working with your teammates): "We have been working really well together. Every car is a little bit different, every driver likes something a little bit different, so you can't just totally copy what they are doing. Pretty much our cars are the same, the exact race setup they have on their cars to qualify with. It is good having those two teammates out there doing race setups because we've have not had much time to do it, get us a good head start doing that.” (How much of a relief is it to get the qualifying run done early in the day?): "It is a big relief, as we all know the weather just starts getting worse. It gets hotter, the track conditions get even tougher the more the day goes along."
MARTY ROTH (#25 Roth Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “My guys did a great job putting the car out. They’ve been working hard. They haven’t slept in the last two days. Today we wheeled out a car that’s pretty solid. The changes we made made a lot of sense. The car has been consistent. Right now our focus is trying to get out in traffic, put some downforce on it and make it a race car. Hopefully we can get away from the qualifying side of this month.” (You were able to get more out of your car this time. Did you leave anything on the table?): “There is a lot of trimming left on this race car; we went out with a lot of downforce. We’re not focusing on a track record here, folks. Just focusing on the bottom two rows where bumping is going to take place. We just have to play it safe. It’s just being responsible and not going crazy, crossing the line resulting in a crash and missing the show. If you wad the car up at this late of a date, you are not in the show. Right now we are being very realistic, with a lot of downforce on the car to deal with the wind. If we have to, we can peel some off. Right now we are after a 219 mph, and we are pretty much there. I feel that, that is the responsible thing to do at this late date, is to get it in the show.” (Are you relaxed at all or still on the edge?): “I’m relaxed. I was definitely pumping away at it after rolling off the scales. You realize the gravity of it, if you don’t make the show. It’s huge.” (How were you adjusting to the high winds?) “It was tough, just constantly battling a push, adjusting your lines in every corner. They are not the optimum lines you would run if it wasn’t for the wind. Especially with the gusting, it might not be the same line the next time you come around. It’s quite a little bit of adjusting and anticipating where things are going to be.”
MARIO DOMINGUEZ (#96 Visit Mexico City/PCM Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): (Can you describe how you’re feeling now?): “No. It’s not possible. I feel terrible for me, for my sponsors, for the team. The only thing that makes me feel good is that we tried until the end. We tried as hard as we could. And that’s the only thing that makes me feel good. We gave it our best effort. At the end, we just trimmed the car out, and the car didn’t take that downforce, and I just lost it.” (About team): “It’s a great team. I think it’s the best team out there. We’ve been together since we’ve started the year, and they’ve done a fantastic job. I feel terrible I could not qualify for this race.”
MAX PAPIS (#44 Rubicon Race Team/Lifelock Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “I can't believe we didn't make the Indy 500. We tried our best. We were plenty fast. The last thought for me was that we were going to be here struggling to make the show. I guess that I learned about the drama of the Indy 500. What can you say? The car was plenty fast. After 30 seconds to go yesterday, when the car turned around and put it in the wall and destroyed the car, we rebuilt it with a lot of effort and tried as hard as we could, and I guess that today was not meant to be. The disappointment is not enough to describe it, the word disappointment. Everyone put in a lot of effort. Lifelock, Geico, other sponsors, everyone put in a lot of effort. Everyone, a tremendous effort. But, you need to put things in prospective though, you know. There are mothers losing their kids in Iraq, there are people dying of cancer, you know, this is a sporting event. Of course, I'm sad about it, but you know, you can always try again. There are some people who would like to try it, and they can't. I guess that I learned another lesson in life, and I learned that Indy can be brutal with you. I'm going to be going to Le Mans 24 Hour in my Corvette, and I'm going to be racing NASCAR the week after Le Mans 24 Hour, so I guess that I will focus on that. I would have 100 percent rather been here, but what can you say? If it's not your day, it's not your day, and again, you need to keep things in prospective. It's just a huge disappointment. We tried it all. We tried everything we could. I would not change a single bit on anything we've done so far leading up to today. When you don't have a backup car and even if everyone helps you, with a small mistake like that and you put it in the wall. Here you go. I guess it was just not meant to be.” (About preparation for last attempt): “We never really tried too hard on the wing, and the last try was going to be the one to count. Unfortunately, when we were getting ready to go, I selected first gear, dropped the clutch and then I'm not really sure what happened. They said it was an input shaft or something like that. It is extremely disappointing. The last thing I thought was that I wouldn't make the show in the Indy 500. I guess my wife (Tatiana) reminded me that even her dad (Emerson Fittipaldi) didn't make it. I guess if there is a consolation, then that is one. It is just a disappointment for all the sponsors and everyone for not making the show. What can you do?" (About his confidence coming into Bump Day): "My last lap on the track, we were 221 (mph). The guys did an incredible job putting the car back together. It is a different call, so it took a while to get it up to speed. We were at 216 (mph) or something like that. The confidence was there. I guess that is not enough.”
ROGER YASUKAWA (#98 CURB Records/hhgregg/Real Power Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “We had a good car, actually, at the end. It looked like the wind direction shifted. I thought we were going to be able to do 219.2’s, 3’s, no problem. The wind direction changed, and the best we could do was a 218 average. It’s very disappointing. I feel bad for my sponsors, hhgregg, CURB Records and Real Power, for not being able to make their car in the show. It’s very disappointing, but I must congratulate Buddy Lazier on being able to make the show. He came in really late. He was able to put it together, and I think experience counts quite a bit. Although I have five years of experience, I think a little bit more, especially with the win that he has, you know, I think that played a pretty big role. Congratulations to Buddy Lazier, and I hope to come back next year.” (On the wind change late in the day): “Early in the day, we pretty much had a crosswind going from Turn 1 to Turn 2. But the last half hour it seemed like we were getting a headwind going into Turn 3, so that was slowing the car down quite a bit.”
GREG BECK (Owner, CURB/Agajanian/Beck Motorsports, #98 Yasukawa): “I think we made a great effort. We waited until we new the conditions were a little bit more conducive. We didn’t have a lot of laps to run on our engine, so we just had to make everything count. We came out this afternoon and felt reasonably good about it. With running on old tires and being able to run some reasonably good times and tried to be smart about changes we made and made them as distinctive as we could. I think what got us at the end was a wind direction shift.”
LARRY CURRY (Chief Engineer, Roth Racing, #25 Roth): (Curry was in tears when qualifying ended.): “Well you know, this place is so special … Let’s just say I have been through a lot this month. I’m happy that Marty got into the race, and I hope Dominguez is OK. It’s unfortunate that he got in an accident; he had a plenty quick enough lap to get in. It’s just been a tough month. I’m so happy for Roth Racing that John Andretti and Marty are both in the greatest race in the world.” (About his focus on the race): “I’ve always told everybody in all the years I have been here, the race is really easy compared to (qualifying).”
TYLER TADEVIC (Owner, Pacific Coast Motorsports, #96 Dominguez): “It’s disappointing, you know. It’s our first event in the IndyCar Series, and we just went ahead and picked the Indy 500 as our first event. You know, it’s the biggest show on earth, and we didn’t get to make it this year. But it’s just another race just like all the other races we do, and we’ll be in Milwaukee and we’ll represent Mexico City and Mario’s still our guy. You know what, I mean, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Mario’s OK; the car’s OK. We’ll be all right. We’ll be back in Milwaukee. We’ve had this car all of three weeks. To get here and make rookie orientation then get out there and be the last car; we were qualified if we could finish those last laps. That’s how it goes.”
Entry update: Team Penske has withdrawn car #77.
At 11:20 a.m., new enlistees were inducted into the Armed Forces in a ceremony held in front of the Bombardier Learjet Pagoda as part of Armed Forces Day activities. The new enlistees were sworn in by Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.
American Dream Motorsports owner Eric Zimmerman confirmed this morning that the team will not participate further in the 92nd Indianapolis 500. Driver Phil Giebler crashed during practice Saturday afternoon, suffering pulmonary contusions. The team’s Panoz chassis was heavily damaged.
The team considered Saturday evening investigating ways to participate today with driver Jaques Lazier but instead decided to focus on future IndyCar Series events, Zimmerman said.
ERIC ZIMMERMAN (Owner, American Dream Motorsports): “We’re going to make an entry to the Texas race tomorrow with Jaques Lazier. We’re going to acquire a new car and take the team to Texas. We’re also doing the (Firestone) Indy Lights program here on Friday, and we’ll take that team to Milwaukee, as well. We’re going to prepare for Texas and three or four more races in the IndyCar Series this year. We’ll have our sponsor Gardner Trucking for the rest of the year and throughout the 2009 season. We’re going to do a full season in 2009.” (About team’s schedule in 2008): “Texas and Chicago, for sure, and we’re only going to do ovals.” (About Saturday’s accident): “Phil is doing better. That’s just the way this game is played, but we are proud of our team. We have a great team and a great bunch of guys. Once we hit 218 mph, we were going to take it to the line and put it in the show.” (On operating with former Playa Del Racing crew members): “We brought in some new guys and we let some of the other guys go, but the American Dream Motorsports team is a fantastic team, and I think we are going to show what we can do in the future.” (About difficulty moving from the Panoz to Dallara chassis): “Everyone on our team now has worked on a Dallara, so the transition isn’t going to be anything to even think about.” (Will the team will re-evaluate drivers after Texas?): “Phil is still our driver, and we back him 100 percent. Until he gets better, Jaques will be in the car, but Phil is our driver.”