The Nos. 41 and 14 A.J. Foyt Racing cars posted the 12th and 22nd quickest lap times through eight practice sessions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it didn't translate to four consecutive timed laps during Pole Day qualifications.
Mike Conway made two attempts: the first disallowed because the No. 14 ABC Supply car failed post-qualifying technical inspection (too light). He returned with 15 minutes left in the segment and posted a four-lap average of 222.434 mph, but was bumped by James Jakes.
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Teammate Wade Cunningham, a three-time winner at the Speedway in the Firestone Freedom 100 but an Indianapolis 500 rookie, averaged 222.689 mph on his second attempt with 40 minutes left. He was bumped by Jakes (223.482) in the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America car for Dale Coyne Racing, who went out with 10 minutes left.
All isn't lost (except a high starting spot). The drivers have three additional qualifying attempts each on Bump Day (May 20) as nine positions are available for the 33-car starting field.
“We shouldn’t have been out there in the first place. We were in the field with a good enough time (223.160 mph) but it was taken away because the car was illegal," Conway said. "Luckily, there aren’t enough cars here to bump us out. We’ve got to go qualify again, do a time and that’s it. Focus on race stuff."
Ed Carpenter, rookie Bryan Clauson and Oriol Servia crahsed in qualifying, but their cars are expected to be ready for Bump Day.
“We felt like we had a great run and really fell on the safe side for most of the run and it just got away from us," said Clauson of the incident on his fourth and final qualifying lap in the No. 39 car for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. "I got into (Turn) 1 and it snapped right around on us. I feel terrible for my guys. I was excited to get this over with, but it will be (Bump Day) for the Angie’s List Honda. It’s been such a great month I hate to put a damper on it. I didn’t think I had a shot at the pole, but I had a great race car."
All were checked and cleared to driver.
“While we never like to see any car involved in an incident, we have been very pleased to see all of the drivers walk away from the 200 mph-plus impacts," INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said. "All the credit to Dallara and those who had input into the safety of the new car."
Clauson teammate Josef Newgarden, also an Indy 500 rookie, qualified seventh for the May 27 race.
Sebastien Bourdais, returning to the Speedway for the first time since 2005, also was bumped (by Conway). Dragon Racing teammate Katherine Legge, Simona de Silvestro and Jean Alesi also will make qualifying attempts.
BUMP DAY PRIMER
Positions 25-33 will be determined based on the day’s fastest four-lap average. Once starting field is set, any qualifying attempt that is faster than a qualified entrant in positions 25 to 33 in the starting field will bump the slowest qualifier of those positions. The “bumping” entrant is placed at the rear of the field while the “bumped” entrant is removed from the field, but has the opportunity to bump its way back into the starting field as time allows.
The standard boost level of 130 kPa (kilopascals) for superspeedways on the single- and twin-turbochargers of the 2.2-liter V-6 engines supplied by Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus have been upped to 140 kPa for qualifications. It will result in the addition of 40-50 horsepower.
The boost level will be 130 kPa for Miller Lite Carb Day on May 25 and Race Day on May 27.