Indy Day 1 Qualification Mid Day

The nice thing about the current format is that drivers can take as many stabs at the thing as they want. In past years, the car had to be withdrawn for a new effort, but now there is no such downside – and so the track continues to be busy. Showers are in the area, adding a bit of urgency to the proceedings.

In my previous report, I omitted that the top 9 will be in a shootout for the Pole Award tomorrow. The rest will be in a shootout for the rest of the spots. Unless another entry materializes by the end of the day, there won’t be any bumping. For most teams.

– Elvis, er, Kurt Busch, has left the building around 2:30 pm. As he left he was bumped from the front row, but assumedly he was safely in the top 9. Certainly he proved he has driving talent, and Mario’s comments to me last year about his abilities are probably very accurate. Asked in the press conference about what he could take back to augment his NASCAR cup driving, he said he would try to forget everything from Indy and get back into NASCAR mode. That he could excel in cars that are, in many ways, opposites is amazing.

– I asked KV Racing crew members about reassembling Sebastian Saavedra's car after his crash last week. As it turns out, most of the bits that went into the dumpster – and there literally was a dumpster full of parts in front of his garage – were road course bits. Aside from the oil from the broken lines, recovering from that crash wasn’t much worse than a traditional changeover of a tub from road/street to oval. But, the crew continued, it wasn’t exactly fun. As I write this, Saavedra is qualified around 25th.

– Team wise, it’s the traditional teams that are going for the top 9 shootout: Penske, Andretti, Carpenter (both cars), and BHA/BBM (Alex Tagliani’s old ride). Buddy Lazier occupies the last spot, and knowing those guys, they probably don’t see the need to risk anything more today.

Tim Wohlford, reporting from Indy

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