Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a way of bringing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. 2016 Indianapolis 500 polesitter James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann just felt one of those lows.
Bump Day at the speedway was plagued several times by rain, and Hinchcliffe was the first to make a run after a two hour and 20 minute red flag. His only recorded four-lap average resulted in the 34th position, one spot short of making the grid. His average was 224.784 mph.
Once all 35 cars had made their provisional runs, it was Oriol Servia in an RLL Racing-prepared Honda in last after aborting his run with Conor Daly ahead. Both would make two more attempts on the race track before slotting in the top-33 once and for all.
Pippa Mann made three qualifying attempts but was unable to break the threshold of the 223 MPH average, getting the slowest run of all the cars.
Before Mann’s final run, Hinchcliffe pulled onto the speedway to make his second qualifying attempt with less than 15 minutes remaining in the session. While the Canadian was on his warmup lap, he felt what he referred to as a “wicked vibration.” Hinchcliffe pulled back off the track, and while the crew hurried to get the car set for another attempt, the gun sounded, ending his hopes at qualifying for the 102nd running of the Indy 500.
“Not the first big name to go home,” Hinchcliffe said, disappointingly.
Hinchcliffe, was, however, the only championship contender to miss this year’s race. He came into the weekend fifth in points. With Indianapolis being a double points event, any hope he had at a championship may have withered away.
Meanwhile, the Fast Nine to run for the pole on Sunday afternoon was also set. Among the top-nine getting time on the track tomorrow will be Helio Castroneves, Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot, Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon and Danica Patrick in her return to IndyCar.