Indy Nearing Magic Number
May 8, 2006 | 1:02 P.M. EST
Thiago Medeiros, the 2004 Indy Pro Series champion and current USAC Silver Crown driver, takes over the No. 18 PDM entry.
Tony George’s Vision Racing added a third car, the No. 90 Rock & Republic Honda for Townsend Bell.
Playa Del Racing announced a pair of drivers. Jaques Lazier will pilot the No. 21, while the backup entry will be renumbered 12 and will be driven by Jon Herb.
New to the entry list is the No. 97 Team Leader Special, to be driven by Stephan Gregoire. That entry was filed prior to the entry deadline but was not previously announced at the request of the team, which had not yet acquired a chassis.
One deletion from the entry is the C&S Motorsports No. 36 and backup. The team had not announced a driver.
With Marco Andretti and P.J. Chesson passing the Rookie Orientation Program on Sunday, yearlings Arie Luyendyk Jr., Bell and Medeiros will be looking to obtain their certification in Monday’s final ROP practice session. Rookies who pass the first three stages of the four-part test will be allowed to complete the test during open IndyCar Series practice later in the week.
Open practice for the Indianapolis 500 will be held Tuesday through Friday from noon – 6 p.m. Qualifying to determine the WorldPoints Visa Card Pole and the first 11 starting positions will be held Saturday, May 13, from noon – 6 p.m. Anyone outside the top 11 on any qualifying day will have their time dropped and will have to requalify. Positions 12-22 will be filled Sunday, May 14, from noon – 6 p.m.
The second week of activity has practice Wednesday through Friday, noon – 6 p.m. The remainder of the 33-car field is scheduled to be filled Saturday, May 20. The final day of qualifying, Sunday, May 21, is bump day. The slowest cars from any of the three qualifying days will be dropped from the field.
In the past, cars bumped from the grid were eliminated, and drivers had to find a new car to make the race. However, under the procedures began in 2005, bumped cars will be allowed to requalify.
Only a few months ago, “bump day” seemed unnecessary, as it appeared that only 24-26 cars would attempt to qualify for the Indy 500. Now, with additional cars still available, it appears there will be a surplus of entries attempting to make the race.