After an overcast opening week at the Speedway, the weather was good for qualifying and now is downright beautiful for race weekend. The IZOD IndyCar series has a good vibe going, and the drama and excitement of the new qualifying format has given May an energy boost heading into the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500.
“It’s not my fault,” is the line of the month, uttered by a frustrated, slightly shaken Danica Patrick after the worst qualifying effort of her Indy career. She was right, but totally wrong to say it. When you play for a team, and you’re the quarterback, you simply can’t go public with the pointing finger. It makes you look bad. And Danica looked bad, and got booed. She knows it, and has somewhat apologized.
Anyone besides Helio Castroneves winning the race will be a mild upset. Anyone besides a Penske or Ganassi winning the race will be a major upset. I picked Scott Dixon at the start of the event. I’ll stick with him.
History will be made with 4 women in the race. It could have been 5. But the question of whether Milka Duno belongs on the track answered itself. She was too slow. I’ll take Simona De Silvestro to finish highest among the women and win rookie of the year honors as well.
The new qualifying format is a hit. The only change I would make is at the start of the Fast 9 Shootout, the cars should qualify in inverted order the first time through. Whoever runs the fast time in the first session goes last at 4:30 pm.
As for bump day, I hope teams learned this lesson: never voluntarily take yourself out of the Indy 500. Make someone bump you out. Paul Tracy and Jay Howard will be watching the Indy 500, even though both of their cars qualified quicker than bubble boy Sebastien Saavedra. Mario Romancini also withdrew and wound up requalifying as the fastest rookie. But Romancini could have waited to be bumped and then run a faster speed.
-Rich Nye, sports reporter
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