Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bump Day 2011

After one of the most intense Bump Days Indianapolis has ever seen, the field has been set for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Day 1 of qualifying took place on Saturday. That set the first 9 positions for the worlds most historic race. In an emotional effort, Alex Tagliani stole the Pole position with a four lap average speed of 227.472 mph. Tagliani was the final car to attempt to qualify on Saturday. In a huge surprise, Ganassi Racings Dario Franchitti ran out of gas on his the fourth lap of his attempt. Since he did not finish all four laps he will start ninth. The top 9 look like this:

1) Alex Tagliani-227.472 mph
2) Scott Dixon-227.340 mph
3) Oriol Servia-227.168 mph
4) Townsend Bell-226.887 mph
5) Will Power-226.773 mph
6) Dan Wheldon-226.490 mph
7) Buddy Rice-225.786 mph
8) Ed Carpenter-225.121 mph
9) Dario Franchitti-226.379 mph

Also set on day 1 of qualifying was positions 10 to 21. Two notable drivers will roll off next Sunday from row 6. Former Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves will start next to John Andretti. Postions 10 to 21 look like this:

10) Takuma Sato-225.736 mph
11) Vitor Meira-225.590 mph
12) JR Hildebrand-225.579 mph
13) James Hinchcliffe-225.572 mph
14) Bertrand Baguette-225.285 mph
15) Davey Hamilton-225.250 mph
16) Helio Castroneves-225.216 mph
17) John Andretti-224.981 mph
18) E.J. Viso-224.732 mph
19) Bruno Junquiera-224.691 mph
20) Justin Wilson-224.511 mph
21) Jay Howard-224.483 mph

Sunday marked day 2 of qualifying for the Indy 500. Day 2 is also known as bump day as drivers battle it out for spots 22-33. Drivers will get "bumped" out of the race as other drivers run faster laps.

The drama of bump day was ever so present today. The field was not set until after the gun had been fired to end the qualifying session. Marco Andretti was bumped out of the race with 4 minutes left in the session. With 50 seconds left, however, Andretti took to the track. Since he was on track when time officially ran out, he was able to complete his attempt. Andretti was able to run a fast enough four lap average to put him the big show next Sunday afternoon. The final four rows will go like this:

22) Tomas Scheckter-224.433 mph
23) Tony Kanaan-224.417 mph
24) Simona de Silvestro-224.392 mph
25) Paul Tracy-224.939 mph
26) Danica Patrick-224.861 mph
27) Ryan Briscoe-224.639
28) Marco Andretti-224.628 mph
29) Charlie Kimball-224.499 mph
30) Graham Rahal-224.380 mph
31) Alex Lloyd-223.957 mph
32) Pippa Mann-223.936 mph
33) Ana Beatriz-223.879 mph

One notable driver that did not make the race this year is Ryan Hunter-Reay. The Andretti-Green Racing driver was bumped by his teammate, Marco Andretti, on the final attempt of qualifying. Another Andretti-Green Racing driver that did not make the field is Mike Conway.

The field of 33 will have one more attempt to get their cars dialed-in before the race on Sunday. On Friday there will be one more practice session. Then that Saturday most drivers will spend relaxing and preparing for the grueling 500 miles that they will have to race. On Sunday, however, they will wake up (if they slept at all) focused and ready to drive the 100th Indianapolis 500.