By Zorba Rose – Bloomingtonian Motorsports Correspondent
Photos by Jeremy Hogan – The Bloomingtonian
It’s time for the last row shootout, also known as the art of bumping the team into the race.
The last row shootout is an hour for the remaining cars that have not made the race to qualify for the last 3 places on the grid. The teams can run their car as many times as they like during that hour.
Those who make the field of 33, well, they are in the money. Sponsors are elated and maybe there will be a miracle top 10 finish during the race. The team that fails to qualify the car, won’t race.
Three of the four cars still trying to make the Indy 500 are run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL). RLL had trouble finding balance in their cars. The straight line speed was compromised by the higher downforce the car needs in the corners. When they lessen the downforce, the car loses stability in the corners.
“We’re struggling with straight line speed,” said Bobby Rahal, team owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan. “Though both Christian and Graham had good straight line speed in practice, but we are not doing 233. We’re struggling on the front.”
The weather for the Last Row Shootout is a little warmer. The Track temperature 140 ℉; Air Temperature 77 ℉; Humidity at 31% and wind speed of 4 mph. There have been no clouds all day, so the track continues to get hotter.
Here are the results of the last row shootout.
31st Christian Lundgaard, No. 45, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Honda
33rd Jack Harvey, No 30, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Honda
Jack Harvey’s first run was not fast enough to qualify. He then took his car out to try to cool and his second run missed the mark. Before the third attempt, the team made a small balance adjustment and put on a fresh set of tires. His speed was up and the four lap average of 229.166, was fast enough to bump his teammate Graham Rahal, son of team owner Bobby Rahal, out of the starting 33.
The number 14 Rahal Letterman Lanigan car driven by Graham Rahal did not qualify for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, his four lap average was 229.159
When being interviewed after the race Graham Rahal was brave facing the cameras.
“This place.. It doesn’t come easy and it doesn’t just happen,” Rahal said. “We weren’t good enough. We were the slowest of our cars on pure pace. You have to be humble and gracious in victory and defeat.”
Rahal took a moment.
“I knew from this car we are in trouble…” Rahal said. He then turned away as he was overcome by emotions.
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