Thrilling Indy 500 Qualifying Overjoys Castroneves, Heartbreaks Hinchcliffe, Mann
Hinchcliffe, one of the fastest and most-liked drivers in IndyCar, won't race at the Indy 500.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hasn't experienced a "Bump Day" since 2011, and it's needless to say that Saturday was a good reminder of the heartbreak that it can cause. James Hinchcliffe, one of the most talented and loved drivers of the IndyCar paddock was, as the session's name implies, "bumped" from his Indy 500 ride.
A nail-biting qualifying session took place at the famed 2.5-mile oval, which thanks to the threat of heavy rain, and an actual sprinkle that caused a rain-delay, was made even more intense for all 35 drivers aching to find out their fortunes for next week's 102nd running of the Indy 500. The suspects, Team Penske and Ed Carpenter racing were running well, as were Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing, but, there was one household name who was struggling: Hinchcliffe.
While the likes of oval-master Castroneves, Ed Carpenter, and Simon Pagenaud put down blistering speeds in excess of 228 miles per hour, Hinchcliffe had to abort his high-speed run due to a mechanical issue with his car. Initially, the Schmidt Peterson crew didn't think much of it, as the problem was eventually rectified and the car lined up to go out on track once again, but then came a rain delay, and a plethora of other situations that ultimately ran the clock down until there wasn't time for the Canadian to run once again. And just like that, Hinchcliffe's Indy 500 journey was over before it even started.
"Nobody failed us, the system didn't fail us. We failed us," Hinchcliffe said at a post-qualifying press conference. "At the end of the day, everybody got a run, which is the rule. Our run wasn't good enough, so blame the weather, blame other cars in line, you can blame whatever you want, but it just didn't happen today. You've got to take your lumps here sometimes."
Another name that's become synonymous with Indianapolis, charitable racing sponsorships, and the Indy 500, Pippa Mann, was also bumped after her car failed to muster enough speed. "It's the worst feeling in the world," said Mann.
Tomorrow the field of 33 will have the opportunity to lap the banked oval once again, as drivers who qualified 10th through 33rd will have the chance to reset the positions one more time, and the Fast Nine Shootout will aim to set the first three rows of the grid for next Sunday's race.
Stay tuned for more boots-on-the-ground coverage from The Drive from now until the 102nd running of the Indy 500 on Memorial Day Weekend.