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Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti squeeze into Indy 500 field

INDIANAPOLIS — Danica Patrick made this year's Indianapolis 500 in the final hours Sunday and Marco Andretti qualified in the final seconds.

Two of their teammates were not as fortunate.

Patrick looked for a while as though she would fail to qualify for this Sunday's race. In mid afternoon she was outside the top 33 which earn spots on the grid — with rain falling.

"It kind of seemed like everything was not going our way, and it kept going against us," Patrick said.

Earlier, her car failed technical inspection. She went to the back of the line as others qualified to fill the field. Then she was about to go out for a four-lap run when rain delayed qualifying for a second time.

Finally the rain stopped, the sun came out and Patrick made the race with a run averaging 224.861 mph, good for 26th spot.

"I feel like getting a drink, that's how I feel right now," she said, drawing laughter. "I am mad because I really thought we had a fast car. … I'm somewhere between angry and happy."

The drama was nowhere near over for Andretti Autosport.

Marco Andretti, the son of team owner Michael, was bumped by Alex Lloyd in the final minutes.

Then just seconds before the session ended, Andretti got back on the track and put together a run of 224.628 to bump his way onto the 33-car grid in 28th.

"It was either going to be into the wall or into the show," the younger Andretti said. "It was a bummer that we were in this position."

The day was a much bigger bummer for Andretti Autosport's other two full-time drivers. The driver Marco Andretti bumped was teammate and Boca Raton native Ryan Hunter-Reay.

He and another teammate, Mike Conway, missed out. Conway was injured badly in a crash toward the end of last year's 500 and earned his first IndyCar victory last month at Long Beach.

"It was probably my worst day as an owner," Michael Andretti said.

This is the closest field in 500 history. Just 2.5399 seconds over four laps separate fastest qualifier Alex Tagliani and the slowest, Ana Beatriz.


Indianapolis 500

Noon Sunday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

TV: Ch. 28

Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti squeeze into Indy 500 field 05/22/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 22, 2011 11:04pm]
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