Two Dreyer & Reinbold drivers at risk of being bumped
Co-team owners Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl had to take a sigh of relief Saturday evening as three more of the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing drivers qualified for the 33-driver lineup in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race set for Sunday, May 24.
Reinbold, working from pit lane with each of his three drivers, John Andretti, Mike Conway and Milka Duno, and Buhl, working in the Versus television booth as a race analyst, already had Davey Hamilton in the field last Sunday when the Idaho veteran averaged 221.9 miles per hour to secure the 22nd position. But Saturday was tough for Reinbold and Buhl to watch at times in the windy conditions.
However, when the 6 p.m. gun fired, Andretti, Conway and Duno had placed their respective cars in the field entering the final day of time trials Sunday. Andretti and Duno attempted early runs, but handling problems with their mounts caused the drivers to pull into the pits without completing their four-lap runs. Both returned to the track later in the day to notch positions in the field.
For Conway, the four-lap qualifying run was an outstanding performance after he suffered a mild concussion last Sunday in a high-speed crash in Turn One. The 25-year-old British rookie driver put together four solid laps of 220.366, 220.416, 220.139 and 219.576 for a 220.124 average and the 28th spot on the starting grid in the No. 24 Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara.
Andretti, seeking his tenth Indy 500 start, drove his No. 43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara to lap speeds of 220.017, 219.478, 219.582 and 218.696 for an average of 219.442 and the 31st position. Duno, in the No. 23 CITGO DRR Honda Dallara, clocked in the 32rd slot with speeds of 218.719, 218.537, 217.305 and 217.605 for an average of 218.040.
Three drivers will attempt to bump into the 33-driver field on Sunday, and Andretti and Duno will be prepared to re-qualify if necessary.