Sun May 23 06:22pm EDT
In a wild last 20 minutes of Bump Day for the Indianapolis 500, Paul Tracy and Jay Howard both ended up taking themselves out of the race by withdrawing their qualifying attempt.
Recently, Bump Day hasn't been too dramatic because car counts for the 500 have been down. But this year 37 cars made qualifying attempts to make the 33-car field.
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The last nine spots are filled on Bump Day, and at any given point, the driver in 33rd is "on the bump." Each car gets three qualifying attempts on Bump Day, but to use a second or third attempt, the previous attempt must be withdrawn. Therefore, if a driver goes slower on his or her second attempt, the first attempt doesn't count.
With about 17 minutes remaing, Takuma Sato -- a Formula 1 veteran -- raced his way into the field and put Howard on the bump.
Tracy and his team, who were in 32nd and in the race, decided to withdraw and go for a better position, but were slower than Howard's 33rd place run. Since Tracy had withdrawn and went slower, he went from being locked into the field (at the moment) to the outside looking in.
After Milka Duno waved off her last attempt -- much to the amusement of many IndyCar fans, she wasn't close to qualifying all weekend -- Howard, who was still in 33rd, decided to withdraw and try to improve his position. because there were only two minutes remaining and had Howard and the team had chosen not to go out on track, Tracy would have gotten one final shot to race past Howard.
Howard's move put Sebastian Saavedra back on the bump and Howard's run wasn't fast enough to knock Saavedra back out of the race. Saavedra started the afternoon on the bump and spent much of the afternoon out of the race and unable to attempt to get back in after crashing the team's only car during practice on Sunday. Saavedra was at the hospital for back pain that resulted from the crash when the gun went off during Howard's run.
Oh, and Tony Kanaan finally qualified and will start 32nd.
Kanaan crashed Saturday and Sunday morning, and after a few practice runs was able to get a fast enough speed in that repaired second car Sunday afternoon to make the race.
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