Friday, May 18, 2007

Indy 500: Another Andretti for the Race; Bump Day is Sunday

Welcome back John Andretti-

It's good to have you back again after a 13 year hiatus running everything but open wheel. Indy is the better for your return. It was sure good to see you get up to speed Thursday on a day which veterans love to hate at the Speedway: cool, overcast, low track temperatures and a gusty headwind on the backstretch. Of course you handled it just fine.

And so far it's been a typical month of May. Hot. Then cold and windy. Now it's going to get hot again for bump day Sunday. With no significant rain to wash the track green, the groove is very dark in Turn 2 so there's lots of rubber down. This could turn to grease if the temperatures get up near 80 Sunday as predicted.

It looks to me like anyone that can run 222 should be safely in the field and 221 might even get in, but I think the bump speed will end up around 221.3 so Buddy Lazier, who is currently slowest in the field, should be safe. Now that Stephane Gregoire is out with a back injury, most of the remaining drivers are struggling to get to 220, so there may be some bumping around that mark. But I would not be at all surprised to see someone squeak in at 219+ in the last few minutes Sunday. Needless to say, a couple of crashes will throw the whole mix into the blender, but that's what makes Indy so great. For teams trying to find speed, conditions Wednesday and Thursday could not have been any worse. Today was almost ideal but as the air temperature creeps up, the asphalt at IMS changes from grippy to gripless sometimes, especially when qualifying with four perfect laps demands pushing it right to the edge.

Godspeed everyone. Bring them home safely this weekend. For a full photo rundown of the 22 drivers already qualified, go to


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