Under near-perfect weather conditions, Rahal Letterman Racing’s Scott Sharp and Jeff Simmons led second-day qualifying Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sharp’s four-lap average of 223.875 miles per hour headed the field as 11 more cars qualified for the 91st running of the Memorial Day Classic on May 27.
Buddy Lazier, the 1996 Indy 500 winner, became the final qualifier of the weekend, bumping his way into the field at the expense of Jon Herb as the 6 p.m. gun sounded to end qualifying. In addition to Herb, Marty Roth and two-time “500” winner Al Unser Jr. were also bumped from the second-day field.
All three will have a chance to re-qualify next weekend, along with another dozen expected drivers, including rookies Milka Duno and Phil Giebler. Third-day qualifying will take place on Saturday, May 19 with final “Bump Day” efforts on Sunday, May 20.
Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on first-weekend qualifying:
“It’s great that after two years of bad weather, the new qualifying format was finally able to be implemented as it was intended, and it appeared to be a big success, particularly on Pole Day. It definitely added some excitement to the final hour of qualifying, and we now have two-thirds of our final starting field. We should fill the field, along with some additional bumping, next weekend as well.”