by Robert Ferringo - 05/24/2005
If you've ever put up a bid for something on eBay, you know the feeling of posting an offer for something that you're dying to have and then sweating it out those final 24 hours. You spend those last minutes waiting-watching-wanting, before some (expletive) tops your price about 20 minutes before those Duke-UNC tickets, or that autographed Slash guitar, or that Princess Amidala blow-up doll, was going to be yours. The feeling is sort of like some guy smashing a beer bottle over your head, kicking you in the kidneys and then leaving the bar with your drunken girlfriend.
Well, poor Arie Luyendyk Jr. wasn't bidding on Duke/UNC tickets. No, on Sunday the son of a two-time Indy 500 winner was 20 minutes away from earning a spot in the 89th running of the 500 and taking that first Oedipal step towards getting out of Daddy's shadow. The 23-year old kid didn't even complete his rookie test until Saturday, but there he was early Sunday afternoon - Bump Day as it's known around Gasoline Alley - clinging to that 33rd slot with a four-lap average of 215.039.
Enter Felipe Giaffone. This guy had been at the mall with his wife - shopping for baby clothes of all things - when none other than four-time Indy 500 winner AJ Foyt called Giaffone on his cell phone and asked him if he'd like to try to qualify for the Indy 500. (Can you imagine what the drive from the mall to the Brickyard was like for Mrs. Giaffone; her husband all hopped up on adrenaline and pride, knowing that the only thing standing between him and a possible spot in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" was some baby boomers out for a Sunday drive and a few ill-timed stoplights?) Giaffone posted a four-lap time of 217.645.
"I had no credential, hadn't been cleared to drive, and was just shopping and packing and getting ready to go home," said Giaffone, a 30-year-old from Brazil. "I'm still waiting to wake up, I guess. After two hours, I'm in the car and qualifying."
Little Arie gave it one last try right before the cutoff time for qualifying, but couldn't get enough speed and missed the cut for Indy 500 drivers. He got bumped, but 33 other drivers are in for Sunday's showdown. That list of Indy 500 drivers includes past winners, rookie wannabes, a walking women's lib billboard, and a few other death-defying drivers. Here's the complete entry list for the 89th running of the Indy 500, which will be held at noon next Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
Indy 500 Drivers(Position, name, car number, car type, qualifying speed)
1. TONY KANAAN (11), Dallara/Honda, 227.566 mph - The polesitter is second in points in the IRL Series with 138 points. He has finished in the top-10 in all four of his races, and the top five in three of the four.
2. SAM HORNISH JR. (6), Dallara/Toyota, 227.273 - Hornish Jr. is third in overall points so far this season. He has one win and two top five finishes.
3. SCOTT SHARP (8), Panoz/Honda, 227.126 - Former IRL co-champ was the runner-up at the last Series race in Montegi, Japan (to Wheldon) and is currently sixth in overall points.
4. DANICA PATRICK (16), P/H, 227.004 - The rookie is the fourth woman to ever qualify for the Indy 500, and will be starting in the No. 4 position. Could that be an omen?
5. HELIO CASTRONEVES (3), D/T, 226.927 - Won his first two Indy 500s (2001 and 2002), and finished second and ninth in '03 and '04, respectively.
6. DARIO FRANCHITTI (27), D/H, 226.848 - Last year Franchitti qualified third but finished a disappointing 14th.
7. VITOR MEIRA (17), P/H, 226.848 - Meira also started in the No. 7 spot last year, and ended up finishing sixth.
8. KOSUKE MATSUURA (55), P/H, 226.397 - Was named the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 2004 after a ninth-place finish.
9. BUDDY LAZIER (95), D/C, 226.353 - With 12 starts, Lazier is the most experienced Indy 500 driver in the field. He won the race in 1996.
10. TOMAS ENGE (2), D/C, 226.107 - Enge's car number - 2 - could be good luck for the Czech driver. That car number has the second-most wins in Indy 500 history (eight).
11. TOMAS SCHECKTER (4), D/C, 226.031 - Former co-Rookie of the Year has finished in the top 10 the last two years at Indy.
12. BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (36), P/H, 225.704 - Rounded out the top five last year. Slipped a little in qualifying this year.
13. SCOTT DIXON (9), P/T, 225.215 - In his last two appearances here, he's finished at least five spots lower than he qualified.
14. ADRIAN FERNANDEZ (5), P/H, 225.120 - Started seventh and finished sixth last year at the Brickyard.
15. SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (37), P/H, 224.955 - One of six rookies in the field.
16. DAN WHELDON (26), D/H, 224.308 - IndyCar Series points leader is lurking in the middle of the pack.
17. ROGER YASUKAWA (24), D/H, 224.131 - In two years in the IRL, he has finished in the top 10 in half of his starts (nine of 18).
18. BRYAN HERTA (7), D/H, 223.972 - Last year Herta started 23rd, but managed to maneuver his way up to a fourth place finish and a big payday. Will be looking to make the same kind of moves from this deep spot.
19. DARREN MANNING (10), P/T, 223.943 - Finished 11th last year in IndyCar Series points standings.
20. RICHIE HEARN (70), P/C, 222.707 - In seven years on the IRL, Hearn has one win and 11 top tens in 23 starts.
21. JEFF BUCKNUM (44), D/H, 221.521 - Rookie finished 18th in Japan in his first and only IRL start.
22. ALEX BARON (51), D/T, 221.053 - Was the slowest opening-day qualifier. He was named the co-Rookie of the Year Award with Tomas Scheckter at the 2002 Indy 500.
23. KENNY BRACK (15), P/H, 227.598 -Despite clocking the fastest lap (227.940) and the fastest four-lap time in the field, he missed the opening day of qualifications so he'll have to settle for the 23rd slot.
24. RYAN BRISCOE (33), P/T, 224.080 - The Australian's favorite movie is Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
25. PATRICK CARPENTIER (83), D/T, 222.803 - Finished in the Top 10 in three of four races so far this season.
26. ED CARPENTER (20), D/T, 221.439 - Won the inaugural Menards Infinit Pro Series 100 in 2003 at the Indy Motor Speedway.
27. JACQUE LAZIER (21), P/T, 221.228 - Always manages to finish in the middle of the pack in this race.
28. A.J. FOYT (41), D/T, 220.442 - The grandson of AJ Foyt is the youngest driver in the field (21) for the second year in a row.
29. MARTY ROTH (25), D/C, 219.497 - At 46, Marty is the oldest driver in the field.
30. LARRY FOYT (41), D/T, 219.396 - Son of AJ Foyt. Just happy to be here.
31. JEFF WARD (22), D/T, 218.714 - Was the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1997.
32. JIMMY KITE (91), Dallara/Toyota, 218.565 - No relation to former Orlando forward Greg or SPGA veteran Tom.
33. FELIPE GIAFFONE (48), P/T, 217.645 - In 2002 Giaffone qualified third and finished fourth.