Gregoire Tops Bump Day Practice
May 20, 2001 | 9:00 A.M. EST
Just a few days after toiling around at 210 mph in Dick Simon’s No. 7 car, Gregoire uncorked a fast lap of 223.541 mph in Sunday morning practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Heritage Motorsports’ No. 35 G Force-Aurora.
Gregoire had been with Dick Simon’s team since the end of the 1998 season, but couldn’t get the team’s cars up to speed, so he accepted an offer from Heritage to drive Jeff Ward’s backup car in qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.
A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 car returned to the top of the speed charts with Eliseo Salazar touring the 2.5-mile oval at 223.167 mph, good for second fastest in practice.
Donnie Beechler, in the No. 14T, also put in a strong lap at 22.622 mph. Raul Boesel in Treadway-Hubbard Racing’s No. 5T at 222.041 mph and Billy Boat at 221.541 mph in Beck Motorsports’ No. 98 rounded out the Top 5.
All five drivers have not yet qualified for the Indy 500. Thirty-two drivers had qualified for the race heading into Sunday’s Bump Day time trials, leaving one starting spot unoccupied.
Drivers who have not yet qualified will then shoot for the 220.054 mph speed of Roberto Guerrero in Dick Simon’s No. 7. He is the slowest car in the field and will be the first to be bumped out of the field by a faster car.
Next on the Bump Day list is Tyce Carlson in the Tri Star Motorsports No. 60 Dallara-Aurora. He qualified at 220.480 mph. Airton Dare at 220.996 mph, Didier Andre at 220.985 mph and Shigeaki Hattori at 221.098 mph are also in danger of being bumped out of the 33-car field.
Drivers who are bumped can try to re-qualify in different cars, but once their originally qualified car is bumped, it is out of the competition.
Other drivers on the track in Sunday morning practice included Richie Hearn in the No. 60T, Steve Knapp in the No. 93 and John Paul Jr. in the No. 81.