James Hinchcliffe Fails To Qualify For The Indianapolis 500
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- The first real Bump Day since 2011 lived up to its reputation of high drama, stress and intrigue today as Schmidt-Peterson driver James Hinchcliffe, the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Hinchtown", failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.
"It's devastating in every way possible," Hinchcliffe said afterwards. "Indy's a cruel mistress sometimes."
Hinchcliffe's four-lap average of 224.784, turned after a two-hour rain delay, was not enough to hold him in the field of 33 when Happy Hour came around.
Noblesville native Conor Daly had been on the bubble for much of the day leading up to that point. It took Daly three tries to find enough speed and he narrowly made into the race. On his third run, an average of 224.874 was enough to put him 32nd and effectively bump Hinchcliffe out of the field.
When it came time for Hinchcliffe to try and bump his way back in, he was forced to wave off his run before it began, reporting to his team a "wicked vibration."
They remedied the problem, but not before Pippa Mann got in line ahead of him in order to tale the day's final qualifying run. The final gun sounded at 5:50 p.m, ending qualifying with Hinchcliffe still sitting on pit road.
Hinchcliffe is fifth in the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings and his absence from the 500 will surely be a huge blow to his pursuit of a championship.
THE FAST 9:
The nine fastest drivers (the Fast 9) in the field of 33 will include all four drivers from Team Penske: Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenuad, Will Power, and Josef Newgarden. Castroneves is on the provisional pole with a four-lap average of 228.919.
They are joined by all three Ed Carpenter Racing entries: owner/driver Ed Carpenter, Spencer Pigot, and Danica Patrick.
"I'm always looking forward to the shootout. Glad we have all our ECR cars in the Fast 9," said Ed Carpenter, who had to wait through two rain delays before he could take his qualifying run. "This place can play tricks on you the longer you wait. Didn't go out at the most ideal time but we got it done."
The two outliers in the Fast 9 are Dale Coyne's Sebastien Bourdais and Chip Ganassi's Scott Dixon.
None of the six Andretti cars made the Fast 9. The fastest from that stable was Alexander Rossi who managed to qualify 10th with an average of 227.591.
Heading into Pole Day tomorrow, all of the speeds from Bump Day will be erased. Each of the 33 drivers who made the field will have a single run on Pole Day to cement their starting spot in the Indianapolis 500.
— Kurt Darling (@WIBCKurtDarling) May 19, 2018
(PHOTO: Brian Cleary/Getty Images)