The agony was real for Jack Hawksworth, Stefano Coletti and Bryan Clauson – and their teams – in the final 45-minute second qualifying session for the 99th Indianapolis 500.
But the three of them still made it into the field on Sunday evening, with 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier the lone driver who failed to qualify for this year’s race.
Hawksworth, Coletti and Clauson looked like they’d rather be anywhere but in the second session, which was added by INDYCAR as something of a fail-safe in case a, with no disrespect to those three, more marquee name had an issue in the primary qualifying session.
As it was, Clauson went out and posted a speed of 221.358 in the No. 88 KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Chevrolet, before Coletti posted a 222.001 in the No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet and Hawskworth clocked a 223.738 in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda.
Lazier came up short on his first attempt in the session in his No. 91 Lazier Racing Partners Chevrolet at 219.438 mph.
“We’re on the grid. That’s all I gotta say,” Hawksworth told ABC after his run.
Asked whether this was one of the strangest days he’d seen at IMS, Clauson and Coletti co-owner Jimmy Vasser told ABC, “Right at the top, or second to when Penske didn’t qualify in 95. We’re miffed why we’re out here. We don’t have the speed today. They just won’t go.”
James “Sulli” Sullivan, another co-owner and race strategist for the KVSH/Byrd’s car told ABC, “Bottom line we’re watching the Lazier camp. We’ve got spotters. If he moves, we move. Simple as that.”
Lazier’s crew made several changes ahead of a second run, notably leaning the rear wing back to a crazy negative amount in hopes of finding more speed.
But despite the effort, Lazier ended his run shy of the mark, at 220.153 mph.