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Monday, May 2, 2016

Danica finally qualifies for Indianapolis 500

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(Photo)
A relieved Danica Patrick takes a deep breath after qualifying for the Indy 500 on Sunday.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Marco Andretti has put himself back in the Indianapolis 500 lineup with an incredible final run to beat the qualifying gun Sunday.

Andretti posted a four-lap qualifying average of 224.628 mph on the final run of the day. He'll start 28th, the inside of Row 10. Just minutes earlier, he was bumped from the field by England's Alex Lloyd.

A little more than an hour before that, Danica Patrick finally got the break she needed -- a dry track. Her qualifying run of 224.861 put her in the No. 26 spot, the middle of Row 9.

The third Team Penske driver, Ryan Briscoe, also qualified for the May 29 race with a speed of 224.639. Paul Tracy had the day's top average of 224.939 and will start 25th, the inside of Row 9.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Things couldn't have gone much worse for Dragon Racing in May.

After Chinese rookie Ho-Pin Tung crashed team owner Jay Penske's No. 8 entry last week and Scott Speed struggled, the team flew in veteran Patrick Carpentier to try and get Speed's No. 20 car into the Indianapolis 500 on the last day of qualifying Sunday.

Carpentier spun coming out of the first turn and slammed into the outside wall, causing serious damage to the left side of the car. He was cleared to drive after crashing, but the team didn't have a backup car.

The team tried to come up with a plan to get a car ready, but with 3 hours of qualifying left, the team was packing up.

"We looked into quite a few different things," team manager John Cummiskey said. "It just came down to we were running out of time and felt it was in our best interest to regroup and move onto the next race."

Cummiskey couldn't believe the team didn't get an entry into the race.

"It's really disappointing for everybody," Cummiskey said. "It's disappointing for the sponsors, for the drivers, for the crew."

Carpentier said he was dizzy when he first got out of the car.

"I thought it was going to be a fun comeback, but it was a hard comeback," he said. "What can you do? I was just starting to enjoy it."

(Photo)
Alex Tagliani qualified for the pole position in Saturday's qualifying.
It was just a continuation of the month's bad luck.

"It's really disappointing, I'll tell you," Carpentier said. "I know these guys had a tough month. I thought I'd be able to come in and at least post a time for qualifying."

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MISCALCULATION: Chip Ganassi's team returned to Indy's 2.5-mile oval hoping to fine-tune two cars for race day and get two more on the 33-car starting grid.

Everyone else wanted to talk about Saturday's mistakes.

Defending champ Dario Franchitti ran out of fuel on the last of his four qualification laps, pushing him from the front row to the outside of Row 3. Teammate Scott Dixon, who was next on the track, ran out of fuel coming out of the final turn -- and it may have cost him the pole. Dixon, the 2008 winner, will start next to pole-sitter Alex Tagliani on the middle of Row 1.

What happened?

"The simple answer is we didn't have enough fuel in either car," managing director Mike Hull said.

But Hull wasn't looking to assess blame.

He said no changes would be made to either driver's crew and acknowledged both drivers had the same amount of fuel, meaning it was simply a calculation error.

Initially, the team wasn't even sure what went wrong. But with Dixon in line, and only one shot to win the pole, the team couldn't even rectify the problem on Dixon's car.

"We were stuck because we were already in the queue," Hull said. "He knew Dario had a problem, but we didn't know, at that point, what it was. We thought it was probably a sensor or something like that. We just have to be better with how we fuel the cars next year."

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SMILIN' SIMONA: Simona De Silvestro's frightening crash and gutsy qualification run Saturday at Indianapolis have turned her into a fan favorite.

When the Swiss driver returned to her garage Sunday morning, she was greeted by dozens of autograph seekers who wanted her to pose for pictures and autograph programs.

De Silvestro did it all while wearing latex gloves over her burned hands, even though she was concerned about keeping her starting spot on the outside of Row 8, No. 24. After being the slowest of Saturday's 24 qualifiers, at 224.392 mph, it was a restless night.

"It's still not safe. I wish we were safe," De Silvestro said. "If we have to get back in the car and go that's what we'll do. But today when I woke up, I was a little more nervous."



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