May 23, 2011
Patrick, Andretti qualify late for Indy 500
Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti both qualified for next week’s Indianapolis 500 with late runs on Sunday after being in danger of missing out.
Patrick took advantage of dry track conditions following an earlier rain delay to qualify 26th while Andretti booked his place on the 33-driver grid with only a few minutes left in qualifying.
Patrick, who had struggled for speed during Saturday’s Pole Day, posted a four-lap qualifying average of 224.861 mph before Andretti squeezed through with 224.628 on the final run of the day.
“I don’t think there’s a really great answer for why I was faster in qualifying today,” Patrick told reporters. “I was disappointed with how slow I went at the end. That’s Indy.
”I’ve always said that this place is its own person. It reads you when you’re nervous. It reads you when you’re not confident. It reads you when you are.
“It throws a lot at you, but that’s why this is the greatest racetrack in the world.”
Andretti qualified in 28th after being bumped from the starting grid only moments earlier by Britain’s Alex Lloyd.
“I wonder if the track just got better, or what,” Andretti said. “I knew we were going to be hanging it out at the end there. Our approach was we’re going home anyway.
”The way we went out, it was either stick it in the fence or stick it in the show. So luckily we were on the upside of that.“
On Saturday, Alex Tagliani became the first Canadian to earn pole position for the Indy 500, recording a four-lap average of 227.472 on the day’s final run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 37-year-old from Lachenaie, Quebec will be joined on the front row of the grid by New Zealander Scott Dixon with Spain’s Oriol Servia set to start in third.
Five former champions, including last year’s winner Dario Franchitti of Britain, and five rookies also qualified for the 100th Indy 500, which is scheduled for May 29.