The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 20, 2013

No time to waste during Indy qualifying

INDIANAPOLIS — Bump Day at Indianapolis followed the script.

No surprises, no drama and no drivers getting bumped.

On a day devoid of tension and rumors, all nine drivers who made attempts on the second and final day of Indianapolis 500 qualifications made it into the 33-car field, led by two young Americans — Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal — who easily had the two fastest cars on the track.

“I don’t want to sound too confident, but I knew we would be fine,” Newgarden said after delivering the day’s best qualifying run at 225.731 mph. “I think we would have been OK yesterday if we would have had another shot at it.”

The lone twist might have come if Mexico’s Michel Jourdain Jr. actually made a qualifying attempt to get in the race. But after failing to top 220 mph in practice, the discouraged Jourdain had his car towed back to Gasoline Alley.

That left it up to Newgarden, the Tennessee native, and Rahal, the son of a former 500 winner, to captivate the fans.

Newgarden’s chance came after he failed to get a second shot to make it in Saturday when he sitting in qualifying line as the gun sounded at 6 p.m. He had to wait another 18 hours and this time, he left no doubt that he belonged. His qualifying speed from Sunday would have been good enough for 21st, the outside of Row 7, if it happened a day earlier. Instead, he’ll start 25th, the inside of Row 9.

Rahal struggled all week — and not just because he was using a Honda engine. The nine drivers in the first three rows of the three-car, 11-row grid are all powered by Chevrolets. The top Honda qualifier was Canadian Alex Tagliani, the 2011 Indy pole-sitter. He’ll start 11th, the middle of Row 4, after going 227.386.

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