Tracy not surprised to miss top 11
|By Matt Beer||Sunday, May 10th 2009, 10:59 GMT|
Paul Tracy said he was not surprised to miss out on a place in the top 11 on the grid for his first Indianapolis 500 since 2002.
The former Champ Car champion has returned to Indy this year in a one-off deal with KV Racing. He briefly held 11th place during yesterday's first qualifying session, before being 'bumped' back out of the field when Hideki Mutoh improved.
"For sure, I wanted to get in on the first day, but we knew it was going to be tough," said Tracy. "We were right on the cusp of doing it. In practice, we were always around 11th, 12th or 13th. We knew we were right around that point."
He said the decision not to make a second qualifying attempt ultimately came down to a lack of resources.
"It all depends on how much budget you have," Tracy said. "If you have an extra $200,000, you can run unlimited miles and tyres, but we didn't have that in our budget. That's just the way it is.
"My team-mate's got a full budget. He's been out practicing today. The cars we're competing against to get in there are Penske, Ganassi, and Andretti Green - that's the top 11, and those teams are tough to beat. So KV is the next one in line. If we had some more money and some more tyres, maybe it would be a different story, but this is the way it is."
KV's full-time driver Mario Moraes was one of the stars of qualifying, as he bounced back from having his first run bumped out of the top 11 to grab a surprise seventh on the grid at the second attempt.
"During the first qualifying run we were a little conservative because of the wind," said Moraes.
"We added a lot of downforce which slowed the car, but still had a good qualifying run and were in ninth going into the afternoon.
"We did some practice laps in the late afternoon with less downforce and knew that we could run faster. Then we got bumped out of the top-11, so we went back out with the less downforce set-up and had a really good second qualifying run."
Tracy will attempt to qualifying again today, when positions 11 to 22 on the grid are set. KV will then add a third car for Townsend Bell in time for next week's final practice and qualifying sessions.