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Overheard at Indy Bump Day - 5 UPDATE In one of the most bizarre Bump Days ever, the 35th fastest time qualified for the last position for the 2010 Indy 500.  In the 500 next Sunday are Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato.  Out are Paul Tracy and Jay Howard, who both withdrew cars that, in the end, had times that were fast enough to make the show. 


The final hour was prefaced by Sebastian Saavedra trying to find speed in anticipation of being bumped, and crashing heavily in turn 2.  Saavedra was taken to Methodist Hospital complaining of back pain, and when Tony Kanaan bumped his way into the field during happy hour with his 223.805 mph run, most were sure that Saavedra's run for this Indy was over.    

Tony's car was rebuilt from an earlier crash, using Marco's front wing, Hunter-Reay's back wing, and Danica's engine cover.  "We had a car that could've been in the top 9 easy, but I got a little greedy."  His team rebuilt 3 cars in the previous 24 hours, and Tony went out of his way to compliment them.  "I would never throw my team down," Kanaan said, in an obvious commentary regarding earlier comments by Danica.  "It's easy to blame people... Just go to work and make it better" he opined.  "We have very capable people on the team, one of the most winning teams in Indy Car." 

Next up was Jacques Lazier, who was trying to put the second AJ Foyt car into the field.  While he found a bit more speed than AJ IV, all his attempts fell short, including the last one at 223.306. 

Mario Romancini, who was on the bubble, pulled this earlier qualification speed managed to put himself in row 9.  In the process, he reinstated then bumped Saavedra, and put Jay Howard on the bubble. 

Takuma Sato then qualified his car at 224.178, bumping Jay Howard in the process.  Sato had crashed his car the previous day, and hadn't really found speed during the heat, but he put it together for four laps at the end.  "The last half and hour was chaos, to be honest, but we made it," Sato commented.  "The team did a great job, and I'm really proud of them." 

Howard then attempted to requalify, but failed to bump Paul Tracy from the field.  At this point, Tracy's team opted to drop their qualification speed from earlier in the day, putting Jay Howard back into the field.  In a reverse of the previous situation, Paul failed to best Howard's time, and was on the outside looking in.  Worse yet, Lazier, Duno and Howard were in line ahead of him, and the chance to qualify for this year's race was gone.  After the race, Paul Tracy couldn't contain his emotions.  With his voice breaking up, he told the press, "It's tough to walk away.  The team did everything they could, and I drove the wheels off of it...  The frustrating part was that the speed was in the car at various times during the day....  Two days ago the car was second quickest.  When the temperature came up, we lost the handle on the car." 

At this point, Saavedra -- on the way to the hospital, and probably believing that all was lost -- was in the 34th spot, with the 35th fastest speed.  Or at least he was, until Jay Howard's team owner Sarah Fisher likewise pulled his previous qualification time, figuring that Paul Tracy would attempt to qualify again.  However, a funny thing happened to Jay Howard -- he too failed to bump his way into the field. 

During the Jay Howard run, the closing gun went off, and with it went the hopes of Paul Tracy as well as Jay Howard.  Tony and Takuma are in.  Jaques, Milka, Paul and Jay are out.  And, Sebastian Saavedra will be a point of trivia for years and years to come.  "He's very happy" commented team owner Bryan Herta. 


The name that comes to mind to long-time Indy fans that compares to today's Bump Day is Leon "Jigger" Sirois.  In 1969, Jigger was the only driver to attempt to qualify on Pole Day before bad weather closed in.  Had he completed the run, he would've been on the Pole, even though his average speed would've been the slowest in the field that year.  As it turned out, Jigger never got the car up to speed, and failed to make the show.  In his "honor," the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association award the "Jigger Award," which is never a welcome thing to get

05/23/10 In one of the most bizarre bump days ever, the 35th fastest time qualified for the last position for the 2010 Indy 500.  In are Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato, out are Paul Tracy and Jay Howard, who both withdrew cars that, in the end, had times that were fast enough to make the show.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Indy

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