By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS — Bump Day was back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday and in many ways it was a true throwback.
Well, at least for those who saw it.
Veteran IndyCar writer/historian John Oreovicz calculated that in the final 10 minutes and 35 seconds of qualifying that there were six minutes and ten seconds of commercials. Not ideal considering that the gun to end qualifying went off at 5:50 for TV’s sake for interviews when they had so many commercial breaks late.
It was a rough Bump Day. A fan favorite missed the show and a driver racing for a very good cause came up short.
But that’s what makes Bump Day the coolest and cruelest day in motorsports. During spring I saw a couple of driver announcements that said that drivers would compete in the Indianapolis 500.
Your driver will attempt to qualify to race on May 27th. No starting spots were guaranteed, you had to earn it by being fast enough. James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann were not fast enough. It’s cruel, it sucks, but both teams knew going into the month that nothing was guaranteed. We hate it for all of the drivers and all of the teams but when the gun sounds, there’s two drivers looking at the rest of the field that are in the show.
If Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports does not replace Jay Howard with James Hinchcliffe, it’ll be a credit to the organization that they will keep their fastest driver in the field. There are reasons to replace him, especially considering sponsorship and championship implications. However, to remove Howard from the field eliminates his ability to get redemption from last year’s situation.
Moving on from Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, it was a great sight to see Carlin and Juncos make the field. Juncos especially was a question mark considering that they are still a part time team, Kyle Kaiser is in the fourth of his four scheduled race weekends and last year wasn’t the best year for the team at Indianapolis. As for Carlin, this is their first full time season in IndyCar racing and the team was toward the bottom of the speed charts earlier in the month.
Ed Carpenter Racing has every reason to be proud of what they did. They’re the only team besides Team Penske to have all of their entries in the Fast Nine with team owner Ed Carpenter second, Spencer Pigot sixth and Danica Patrick ninth. Carpenter ran the single fastest lap of the day yesterday with a lap of 229.26 mph.
Chevrolet occupies seven of the top nine positions and nine of the first 12. They have stepped up their game tremendously and are taking the fight to Honda. Honda’s representatives in the top 12 are Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi in fifth, eighth and tenth respectively.
Conor Daly was able to put his car in the show after three attempts for the Noblesville native. Daly had an issue with his car during his first run but the team found the issue on the setup pad and he got into the field.
It was good to see Oriol Servia get into the field. Scuderia Corsa has never fielded an IndyCar effort and hopefully this leads to a future effort for the California-based team.
Pole Day qualifying begins at 2:45 p.m. ET.