Final Thoughts- Qualifying Weekend

What do Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser, Jr., and Emerson Fittipaldi have in common? There are two things. They won a combined six Indianapolis 500s, and they each failed to qualify for an Indianapolis 500. It can happen to the best. Great drivers-popular drivers-  have missed the race from time to time. The series moves on and the race goes on. There is a season to run, and the Indianapolis 500 will be back next year.

Saturday was one of the most intriguing, compelling Bump Days I have seen. It is nice to know that after a seven year absence, bumping is still the heart of qualifying. I’m glad it has returned.

Can We Ditch the Fast Nine?

The Fast Nine was a good idea when there were only 33 entries. It did add a bit of excitement to what was an otherwise ho hum weekend where no one was going to miss the race.

This year the Fast Nine was anticlimactic. It is time to put it away until the next year only 33 cars show up. Removing it would solve a major hiccup in the qualifying procedure.

Near the end of Saturday some teams were scrambling to make the field and others went out to attempt to makea the Fast Nine.  This is confusing to teams and fans. Who gets priority? The groups need to be separated.

Saturday should be running for the pole, and Sunday should be for making the race. With the pole decided on Saturday, the speedway and Indycar can promote the winner on Sunday’s qualifying show in addition to having a Sunday morning headline.

Notes

In years past I have watched drivers on television after they failed to qualify for the 500. I heard the disappointment in sadness in their voices, the tears in their eyes and thought I knew how sad they were feeling. Seeing that emotion in person Saturday evening at Pippa Mann’s press conference, however, really drove home how much this race means to the drivers who base their entire year on being in the 500.

Ed Carpenter and Scott Dixon have combined to win five of the last six poles at Indy. James Hinchcliffe is the only other pole winner in that stretch.

Saturday’s crowd was low because of the weather. yesterday’s crowd seemed smaller than last year’s Sunday attendance.

Indy Lights has two sessions today. The first round is from 10:45-11:30. The next round is at 4:30 after the Indycar  practice from 12:30-4. Indycar practice is streamed. There is no streaming for the Lights practices.

Aaron Telitz on Pit Lane Parley

Indy Lights driver Aaron Telitz is this week’s guest on Pit Lane Parley. Tune in at 3:15 EDT Friday on wildfireradiosports.com