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Boat survives Indy's bump day

Billy Boat capped a frenzied final hour of qualifying, beating the gun by less than a minute to bump his way into the Indianapolis 500.

The final day of time trials for Sunday's race began with 10 spots left to fill in the 33-car field.

For most of the six hours Sunday that the 2{-mile oval was open for qualifying, it seemed few teams had the speed or the equipment to get the job done.

A.J. Foyt, whose regular drivers Eliseo Salazar and Jeff Ward were among the 23 who qualified Saturday, turned Ward's backup car over to Boat. Boat had crashed his team's car.

Boat ran a slow 192.105 mph in the first Foyt car, then rolled out Salazar's backup car and put it at the end of the qualifying line.

As the clock ticked toward the 6 p.m. closing, driver after driver went out looking to break into the lineup.

Less than five minutes from the end, rookie Dan Drinan took to the oval, leaving Boat next in line. Drinan's first lap was just over 213 and his crew cut short the attempt. Boat started with two laps over 219 and finished with 218.872, bumping Jack Miller and taking the inside spot on the last of 11 three-car rows.

Boat, 34, said: "They put me in a race car I had never turned a wheel in. But I had been with this team before and know how they prepare a race car, and I was able just to put my foot down and go, which at 6 o'clock at Indy on bubble day you've just to do."

Lyn St. James ran 218.826. St. James, 53, will be the oldest starter in the race, and Sarah Fisher, 19, will be the youngest. It is the first time two women have qualified for the Indy field.

The fastest second-day qualifier was Raul Boesel, who avoided all the drama by putting his car into the field early at 222.113.

Other final-day qualifiers were Jimmy Kite at 220.718, Jaques Lazier at 220.675, Steve Knapp at 220.290, Davey Hamilton at 219.878, Johnny Unser at 219.066 and rookie Andy Hillenburg at 218.285.

Four crashes raised the total for the week to 20.

EUROPEAN GP: Nobody is better in the rain than Michael Schumacher, who proved it again in the Formula One race at Nuerburgring, Germany. Schumacher won by 13.821 seconds, Mika Hakkinen was second and David Coulthard third. Schumacher, who covered 67 laps on the 2.831-mile road circuit in 1 hour, 42 minutes 00.3 seconds, averaged 111.520 mph. Schumacher's victory was the 39th of his career, two short of tying Ayrton Senna for second. Alain Prost is first at 51.

GRAINGER.COM 200: Greg Biffle was first at Fountain. Colo., leading 170 of the 200 laps on the mile oval and winning by 4.281 seconds. Teammate Kurt Busch was second in the Craftsman Truck race. Five caution periods cut Biffle's average speed to 99.778 mph.

NHRA SUPERNATIONALS: Unseasonably cold and rainy weather at Englishtown, N.J., forced officials to reschedule final eliminations for Sept. 8-9 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

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