INDIANAPOLIS – 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, who finished fifth in Brazil, wanted to take another shot Saturday but was left sitting in qualifying line when the gun sounded at 6 p.m. He had to wait 18 hours more to get a second shot, this time leaving no doubt 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, who drives for his father, Bobby, the 1986 Indy winner, couldn't quite get his car right all week. 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."
Newgarden and Rahal 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.
But nobody else even made an attempt.
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 into the field with a run at 223.442. He'll start 32nd.
- Starting grid (Note: The starting grid information listed on the cover of the sports page in the print edition is incorrect.)
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.
•Britain's Pippa Mann and Brazil's Ana Beatriz, of Dale Coyne Racing, will be the first female 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 female starters.
•Carlos Munoz, who qualified second Saturday, will be the first rookie to start on the front row since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000.