The qualification process wasn't as exciting as Saturday, but as Brian Barnhart noted it wasn't supposed to be. The best part of qualifications on Sunday - a.k.a. Bump Day Lite - was that a couple more teams got up into the speeds to make fans think that maybe they might also be competitive.
For the first time all season, the entries from Rahal Letterman Racing were turning laps in a snappy fashion equal to that of their snappy cars. Scott Sharp's time would have placed him 9th on Saturday, but 12th isn't that far behind. Meanwhile, teammate Jeff Simmons looked like he might be getting the Ethanol-sponsored car out where people can actually see it in something other than replays of a crash.
The rest of the Vision Racing team not named Scheckter also qualified well, including sentimental favorite Davey Hamilton. However, Hamilton reportedly appears to not be a warm and fuzzy story to at least one former Indianapolis 500 entrant. Mr Scott Pruett offered his thoughts.
"The IRL has been struggling ever since 1996. And this year they're going to have a hard time finding 33 cars--33 good cars--to put in the race. Look at Davey Hamilton, I feel sorry for the guy. I think he shouldn't be out there. I know what it takes to get in those cars. And there comes a time when you just don't have it. Things can be really bad if you crash."Yawn. I'm not sure "what it takes to get out there" but I am sure Hamilton just qualified for the race. Pruett's best finish at Indy was 10th in 1989. Hamilton finished 6th in '97 and 4th in '98. Not that this has anything to do with anything.
Also note that Darren Manning had his Foyt machine up in the 223-ish range. The Dreyer and Reinbold tandem of Rice and Fisher were a tick or two behind but qualified, as were the Panther's Matsuura and Meira. Buddy Lazier rounded out the top 22.
Buddy actually won the Indy 500 once. Seriously. You could look it up. In fact, both drivers named Buddy have their faces on the Borg-Warner. What are the odds of that?
What does it mean? I don't know, but I'd start calling my favorite driver "Buddy". At least for the Month of May.
At any rate, Sunday provided little drama except for poor Jon Herb who kept getting bumped all day. Next weekend is looking good for him though. And speaking of bumping, there are at least 16 drivers competing for the final 13 spots, and that doesn't even include any folks waiting in the wings for last minute deals.