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Archive for Monday, May 23, 2011

Danica, Andretti part of Indy field

May 23, 2011

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— Michael Andretti’s team finally overcame its May curse.

The rain held off Sunday to give Danica Patrick a second chance, and James Jakes waved off his qualifying attempt, giving Marco Andretti one more shot to make the Indianapolis 500.

Patrick and Marco Andretti took advantage of the good fortune and qualified for the centennial anniversary race at the Brickyard.

Patrick posted a four-lap average of 224.861 mph after it looked like she might not even get to qualify on Bump Day. Andretti delivered an even more clutch performance in the final run of the day, going 224.628 to bump his way back onto the 33-car grid.

“It was either going to be into the wall or into the show,” the 24-year-old son of the team owner said. “It was a bummer that we were in this position.”

Perhaps it should have been expected — given the family history at Indianapolis.

Marco Andretti’s grandfather, Mario, won the 1969 Indy 500, but never reached Victory Lane again. Michael led more laps at Indy than any other non-winner, and Marco wound up as the 500 runner-up when Sam Hornish Jr. passed him in the closing yards of the 2006 race.

But as much consternation as the Andrettis have endured at this 2.5-mile oval, this might have been their worst month ever at Indianapolis.

Andretti Autosport’s five-car stable struggled to reach the top of the speed charts all week, then wound up in deep trouble Saturday. It took 10 qualifying attempts to get a single car, John Andretti’s No. 43, into the May 29 race.

Just ahead of Patrick was Canada’s Paul Tracy, who produced the fastest average of the day at 224.939 with rain falling on his final lap.

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