Rare is it that there’s really much attention paid to cars that fail to qualify for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. But when two teams have had such rough starts to the season, it’s at this point you can’t not feel some sympathy.
Front Row Motorsports’ third car, the No. 35 Ford, has gone through three drivers in four races, but only has made the field once. Eric McClure missed the Daytona 500 and Blake Koch only went one-for-two in his two outings.
Now today, David Reutimann, a past Cup Series winner, couldn’t get the car in the show at Bristol. Reutimann’s time of 15.154 seconds, 126.620, wasn’t slowest by any stretch but was exactly one one-thousandth of a second slower than Danica Patrick in 36th (15.153) of the first round of knockout qualifying.
Factor in seven provisionals utilized to those higher up in owner points, and Reutimann’s MDS Transport-backed car went home.
The car is in this tenuous situation because it wasn’t particularly high up in the 2013 owner points, and Josh Wise left in the offseason. That’s already three of a possible four races that car has lost out on additional prize money to help support FRM’s two other full-season cars, driven by David Ragan and David Gilliland.
Randy Humphrey’s No. 77 Ford, meanwhile, is now an imperfect 0-for-4 making the field with new driver Dave Blaney. The team’s Daytona practice accident destroyed the primary car and has now had a hangover effect for the following three races.
Blaney was two tenths off Reutimann’s time in the first round so was left further out of a shot to make the field.
For the team and crew sake, here’s to hoping they can make the show soon as the 2014 season begins to roll into a rhythm.
Will Power led the only IndyCar Road America practice of the weekend Saturday, shooting to the top of the chart on his 22nd and final lap of the session at 1 minute, 46.0021 seconds in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet.
Dixon knocked Jack Harvey’s No. 60 Dallara-Honda from the top spot (which would have marked the first time that a Meyer-Shank Racing car led practice).
Josef Newgarden, Power’s Team Penske teammate, was third, followed by Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay (who went off course late in the session but sustained no damage).
Alex Palou, Colton Herta, Graham Rahal, defending race winner Alexander Rossi and Pato O’Ward rounded out the top 10 in the practice that preceded a Saturday-Sunday race weekend doubleheader for IndyCar at Road America.
PRACTICE RESULTS: Click here to see who was fastest in the session
RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix
RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut
IndyCar tested some new cooling devices with cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske. Several drivers have said the cockpit heat caused by the new aeroscreen was stifling during last week’s GMR Grand Prix, and IndyCar repositioned drink bottles this weekend to keep liquids cool. The pieces tried by IndyCar during the Road America practice won’t be available during the races Saturday and Sunday at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course.
Scott Dixon, who is seeking to open the season with his third consecutive IndyCar victory, was 15th fastest in the 75-minute session. Other notables in Road America practice: Marco Andretti (12th), Simon Pagenaud (19th).
Power is aiming for his second consecutive pole position after qualifying first last week on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
Qualifying for the REV Group Grand Prix Race #1 will take place at 2:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold).
The broadcast of the IndyCar race at Road America will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.