It started our more than bumpy for Bump Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was final Indycar qualifying for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. Bump as PATRICK CARPENTIER/No.20 Dragon Racing Fuzzy Vodka hitting the Turn One SAFER Barrier. Bumpy as a hit and run near-hurricane force windstorm with sheets and sheets of rain two cars/ten minutes into the afternoon six-hour Qualifying session for the remaining nine slots on the 2011 Grid. Bumpy as in walking into a desk or chair in the Media Center during the brief power outage.
First the Weather – which is always a topic of concern and conversation at the Speedway. The weather is very changeable. If you don’t like it, wait five minutes. The day started out sunny and warm. By the start of Sunday morning practice at 9 am local time, it was already overcast and 76 degrees F. It continued overcast and very windy ’til the start of Bump Day qualifying at noon.
Five cars were on track for the morning practice – in order of top speeds: CHARLIE KIMBALL/No.83 Livermore and NovoLog Flex Pen Chip Ganassi Racing; DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Team GoDaddy Andretti Autosport; her teammate MARCO ANDRETTI/No.26 Team Venom; GRAHAM RAHAL/No.38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing; and PAUL TRACY/No.23WIX Filters/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
SIMONA De SILVESTRO/No.78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy HVM Racing reported spray 27 minutes into the session, which caused a caution for seven minutes. Sixteen minutes after the new Green Flag, Carpentier slid sideways and backwards through the short chute, hitting hard on the left side of his car. He was a little dizzy but otherwise all right. The happy Canadian was checked and released from the IU Health Emergency Medical Center, cleared to drive by DR. MICHAEL OLINGER, INDYCAR medical director.
However, Carpentier’s car was severely damaged and the team has no backup car. He The week started with SCOTT SPEED in the car. Carpentier said he received The Call Saturday at 2:30 pm his time in Canada, took the last flight out two and a half hours later and landed after midnight.
The Dragon team’s sole car has been in two accidents, which impacts the team’s ability to field a car for Qualifying. The car had previously been crashed with SCOTT SPEED as driver.
Two cars made it out for Qualifying before the rain came. It was 79 degrees F and almost that humid, with slight breezes. When the storm hit, I never saw such swift and speedy scattering. The pits filled with teams and gear emptied in near record time.
ANA BEATRIZ/No.24 Team Piranha Dreyer/ Reinbold Racing was first in line, followed by Rahal. By the time he was on his final qualifying lap light rain was reported in Turns One and Two. The spotters said Turn Three was dry so Rahal completed his run, and at this point, he is the Best of the Rest.
The Indycar official weather updates said “they were aiming to resume qualifying at 2:30 pm if the weather holds as is.” that was later revised to 2:20 pm.
In the meantime, the Media celebrated the 21st birthday of BILL YORK.