Iinside Indy:/I Doin The Bump
May 14, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Simply put, Bump Day will determine the final 33 starters for the Indianapolis 500 by weeding out the slowest cars that have already qualified.
As it stands now, 32 cars have qualified for the May 27 race, leaving one spot still open. After one car completes a four-lap qualifying run Sunday, the full, 33-car field will be temporarily established.
Then, bumping begins. The slowest car in the field, currently the No. 7 of Roberto Guerrero at 220.054 mph, will be the first car to be bumped from the field if a faster car qualifies on Sunday.
Here is the tricky part. Because Guerrero qualified on the first day, he is 24th on the provisional starting grid because Day 1 qualifiers are placed ahead of Day 2 qualifiers, who are in turn placed ahead of Day 3 qualifiers.
If Guerrero is bumped, the 25th provisional starter, currently Bruno Junqueira, would move up to take Guerrero’s place in the lineup. That would create a chain reaction, moving everyone behind Guerrero up one spot in the lineup. The car that bumps Guerrero, however, can do no better than 33rd starting spot because it would qualify on Day 3 and would be placed behind Day 2 qualifiers.
Next on the bump list is Tyce Carlson in the No. 60 car at 220.480 mph. He isn’t confident that he’ll make the race with that speed.
“Do I think my speed is going to make it? If it's a nice day, no, but we've got our T car,” Carlson said.
If he chooses, Carlson can try to bump his way back into the field, but he has to do it in a different car because once a car is qualified, it cannot re-qualify.
It can be confusing, but the bottom line is simple: When it’s all said and done, the 33 fastest cars will start the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500.