Rookie NELSON PHILIPPE/No.00 HVM Racing crashed during practice between qualifying runs. He spun and crashed hard nose first exiting Turn One’s SAFER wall and then suffered side damage to the car after hitting in Turn Two. He was unhurt, and has been cleared to drive. Philippe does not have a backup car; however, the team is confident the damage can be repaired so Philippe can qualify next weekend.
Philippe said he had been fighting understeer all day.
Earlier in the session, Past Indy 500 winner, DAN WHELDON/No.4 Panther Racing also hit the wall during practice between qualifying runs. He also was unhurt, and he was cleared to race. The car was only moderately damaged – left rear corner was knocked off. The team was feverishly working on the cammo car so Wheldon could get back out before Pole Day’s checkered flag.
JUSTIN WILSON/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing was the first car to qualify and the first to have his time disallowed due to unapproved ballast location. His time of 220.934 mph would have eventually been bumped by faster cars.
TONY KANAAN/No.11T Andretti Green Racing went out fourteenth in qualifying and placed eighth, a time he planned to keep rather than try to improve. After his press conference with much fun discussion on his composite backup car cobbled together with pieces from the No.27 AGR car of his teammate, HIDEKI MUTOH, Kanaan’s time was disallowed due to not meeting minimum weight. The team said the car was only a little bit light. His misfortune put Rookie RAPHAEL MATOS/No.2 Luczo Dragon Racing back into the lineup – at least for now.
The No.16 Panther Racing car crashed Friday by SCOTT SHARP was in the final stages of repair. A crew member said the team wouldn’t risk the car on track today due to high winds. The set up was not quite right, The plan is to shake down the car Sunday morning, for an afternoon qualifying run by Sharp. He is only here this weekend, due to a conflicting American Le Mans Series race next weekend.