Bump Day at Indianapolis followed the script.
No surprises, no drama and no drivers getting bumped.
On a day devoid of tension and rumors, all nine drivers who made attempts on the second and final day of Indianapolis 500 qualifications made it into the 33-car field, led by two young Americans — Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal — who easily had the two fastest cars on the track.
“I don’t want to sound too confident, but I knew we would be fine,” Newgarden said after delivering the day’s best qualifying run at 225.731 mph. “I think we would have been OK yesterday if we would have had another shot at it.”
The lone twist might have come if Mexico’s Michel Jourdain Jr. actually made a qualifying attempt to get in the race. But after failing to top 220 mph in practice, the discouraged Jourdain had his car towed back to Gasoline Alley.
That left it up to Newgarden, the Tennessee native, and Rahal, the son of a former 500 winner, to captivate the fans.
Newgarden’s chance came after he failed to get a second shot to make it in Saturday when he sitting in qualifying line as the gun sounded at 6 p.m. He had to wait another 18 hours and this time, he left no doubt that he belonged. His qualifying speed from Sunday would have been good enough for 21st, the outside of Row 7, if it happened a day earlier. Instead, he’ll start 25th, the inside of Row 9.
Rahal struggled all week — and not just because he was using a Honda engine. The nine drivers in the first three rows of the three-car, 11-row grid are all powered by Chevrolets. The top Honda qualifier was Canadian Alex Tagliani, the 2011 Indy pole-sitter. He’ll start 11th, the middle of Row 4, after going 227.386.
Rahal, who drives for his father, Bobby, couldn’t quite get his car right. But when it mattered Sunday, Rahal easily made it in with an average speed of 225.007 to claim the No. 26 starting spot — the middle of Row 9.
“I’ve certainly had better (weeks), I’ve certainly had some that were more challenging,” Rahal said after locking up his sixth straight Indy start. “But there have been some mysteries behind a lot of our speed problems. I think the first few days people thought we were being extremely slow, but really we were just being really conservative.”
They were the lucky ones.
Conor Daly, Buddy Lazier and Katherine Legge spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out how to get more speed — if they had to re-qualify their cars.
Daly had a tough week. After flying back from two races in Spain, the airline lost his HANS device, and after Thursday’s crash A.J. Foyt’s crew had to rebuild Daly’s car. They were working overtime again Saturday night after Daly’s first qualifying attempted was derailed by puffs of smoke coming out of the rear end of the No. 41 car. But the 21-year-old rookie from suburban Indy returned to the 2.5-mile oval Sunday and put his car on the inside of Row 11 with an average of 223.582.
“I have to thank the crew for all they’ve done,” Daly said. “I think they had the car apart at least 15 times after the crash and the problems we had (Saturday),” Daly said. “We got the engine back at about 8:30 last night and they worked late getting it back in.”
The first nine drivers all qualified on their first attempts, assuring race organizers of a full field. Nobody else even made an attempt.
Jourdain Jr. tried everything. Nothing worked, making it the second straight bumpless Bump Day.
His decision not to go out eased the tension for Legge, who was hired Saturday by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and was sitting in line ready to re-qualify when Jourdain’s car was towed back to Gasoline Alley. The British driver will start on the outside of Row 11 after going 223.176.
The day’s biggest scare came with about 30 minutes to go in practice when Team Penske driver Will Power tapped the wall with his right rear tire. The yellow flag came out briefly but Power was not injured.
Fans still had plenty to root for.
There was Newgarden, the hotshot 22-year-old who drives for Sarah Fisher, a local favorite; Rahal, the 24-year-old with the familiar last name; and Daly, the new kid on the block with deep ties to the speedway. They also wanted to see if Lazier, the 1996 race winner, would qualify for the first time since 2008. He didn’t make it onto the track until late this week, struggled to find speed and got bumped Saturday. He came back Sunday and was the first driver to qualify, getting his father’s No. 91 car into the field with a run at 223.442. He’ll start 32nd.
The Laziers will be one of three father-son teams starting next week’s race — joining the Rahals and Michael and Marco Andretti. Organizers believe that is a track record and it’s already causing quite a stir.
“The Rahal name, it’s a nice perk around here,” Graham Rahal said before adding fuel to his budding rivalry with the younger Andretti. “I certainly don’t get the pressure that an Andretti does, by any means. How many father-son combos have won it? I think one, right? Andretti can’t do that, so, that would be one more that we’d get on them.”
Other notable facts about this year’s field include:
—Scotland’s Dario Franchitti and Brazil’s Helio Castroneves will try to become the first foreign-born four-time winners in Indy history. Three Americans — A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears — have won four times. This will be the first time since 1987 that two three-time winners will start the race. Castroneves qualified eighth. Franchitti will start 17th.
—Britain’s Pippa Mann and Brazil’s Ana Beatriz, of Dale Coyne Racing, will be the first women teammates in Indy history. Mann will make her first start since being injured in the 2011 crash that killed Dan Wheldon and will start 30th. Beatriz will start 29th. Legge and Switzerland’s Simona de Silvestro also qualified, giving the race four women starters.
—Carlos Munoz, who qualified second Saturday, will be the first rookie to start on the front row since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. Both are from Colombia, and Munoz is leading the Firestone Indy Lights series in points.
—Daly will be the youngest rookie to start the 500 since Rahal in 2008.
Bump Day at Indianapolis followed the script.
Outlaws have chance to host regionals
The Marlow baseball team has had to overcome some adversity in recent weeks, but coach Jeff Brewer is confident the team will get back on track.
The past week started with a road game at Blanchard, ranked seventh in Class 4A, last Tuesday. Then came a tough outing at home against Class 4A Newcastle Thursday and a showdown Friday at Sterling, ranked fourth in Class A.
Tennis teams place second
The Duncan tennis teams did well for themselves in a tough field at the BancFirst Tournament.
The girls played Friday and took second as a team, with Marisa Moore taking second at No. 2 singles and Aubrey Mouser and Jordan Clauson the same placing at No. 2 doubles. Taking third were Alex Bowers at No. 1 singles and Sydney Hendricks and Carly Kirkland at No. 1 doubles.
Bronchos boast top-notch backstops
Central High coach Jeff Jones has had to tinker with his lineup to get the best Bronchos on the field for most of the year, but one position he hasn’t had to worry about is catcher.
That consistency came in the form of two very different players.
First, there’s the unheralded freshman Keeton Sallee. Flirting with a .400 batting average, Sallee is one of the Bronchos’ best offensive weapons. On defense, his quick release and strong arm cause headaches for opponents on the basepath. Just months into his high-school career, he’s performing admirably.
Girls soccer wins big at Eisenhower
The Duncan girls soccer team dominated its match at Lawton Eisenhower Friday, winning 8-0.
“We really moved the ball well,” said Lady Demon coach Delydia Gay. “We did a fantastic job. Everyone got a good amount of playing time.”
‘Dial’-ing up a vaulting tradition
Marlow’s pole vaulters have a good chance to continue the legacy of Joe Dial.
Dial held the world record in the men’s indoor pole vault at one point, clearing 19 feet, 3 3/4 inches in on Feb. 1, 1986. He was a four-time state champion at Marlow from 1978 to 1981, with his best state meet mark coming in 1980 when he cleared 17 feet, 1 inch. He now coaches track at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Demons post good times at tough meet
A meet at the University of Oklahoma Friday proved tough for the Duncan track athletes, but the coaches saw plenty of good things.
Duncan’s boys tallied nine top-six placings at a meet that mostly featured Class 6A schools. Kevin Roddy won the shot put (57’1.5”) and discus (178’11”), Mason Bivens won the 3200 (9:53.71) and Walker Clampitt won the 800 (2:00.03).
Four named to DHS Athletic Hall of Fame
A star on two state champion football teams, two females who will set precedent for their sports and a Velma native who is a mover and shaker in the tennis program comprise the 2014 Duncan Athletic Hall of Fame class to be inducted when DHS holds its annual All-Sports Assembly on Monday, May 19.
Four stand out for Indians at Marietta
Several Comanche track athletes had good showings at a meet in Marietta Friday.
Braden Ledford placed second in the high jump, despite being limited with a hip flexor injury. Track coach Steve Justus said he has been taking it easy with Ledford so he will be healthy for regionals. Ledford has the potential to clear 6 feet, 2 inches, Justus said.
Demon golfers compete at Lincoln Park
The Duncan boys golfers competed at a tournament at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City Thursday.
Individual scores were Blake Graham with 76 and 79, Logan Harris with 76 and 75, Tyler Albin with 77 and 78, Christian Dructor with 78 and 86, and Carson Hogstad with 80 and 83.
Track teams head to Norman
The Duncan track athletes travel to Norman today for a meet at the University of Oklahoma.
Duncan boys coach Todd Ledford said that the Demons will be one of just three Class 5A teams attending. The rest of the teams are 6A.
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