Marco Andretti bumped teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 field with a clutch qualifying run during Bump Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo: IndyCar)
Marco Andretti made it into the 2011 Indianapolis 500. That's the good news. The bad news is that he had to bump his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay from the field to do it.
With 50 seconds to go in Indy 500 time trials, Andretti rolled out of the qualifying line for his final attempt of the month. The young Andretti Autosport driver had been bumped from the field by Dale Coyne Racing's Alex Lloyd only moments before. But with Hunter-Reay directly behind him in the qualifying line, Andretti beat the end-of-session gun by mere seconds and placed himself into the starting field with a four-lap average of 224.628mph, good enough for the inside of the 10th row.
"We just ran out of time. We were on the unlucky end of that," said Hunter-Reay. "It's just heartbreaking. My teammate bumped me out. I can't even comprehend it."
Andretti had been on the bubble for most of the day after a disastrous Pole Day performance, but, like his teammate Danica Patrick, found a last-minute measure of speed to get himself into the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
It was a rough month for Andretti Autosport, which brought five cars to Indianapolis but only got three of them into the starting lineup after Grand Prix of Long Beach winner Mike Conway could not get up to speed on Bump Day.
Weather played into the drama, putting Danica Patrick at risk of not making the race as she sat on the outside looking in. However, a break in the rain and the efforts of Indianapolis Motor Speedway track dryers allowed her a window to put her car in the show with the second-fastest qualifying time of the day.
Paul Tracy turned the fastest qualifying time of the day as rain showers drizzled on the racing surface.