It was getting deep into Happy Hour on Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and despite some morning rain, the crowd had got its money's worth. The 'fastest day in motorsport' had lived up to its name, with the track record having already fallen three times during the afternoon - first to Davy Jones, then to rookie Tony Stewart, then to Arie Luyendyk.
With just over 25 minutes left to run and nobody lining up to go back out, the battle for pole appeared to have been settled. Then Scott Brayton started to pull his helmet on.
The 1996 Indy 500 was the year of the CART boycott, and under the rules of the time - rules that contributed to the CART teams not being there in the first place - Brayton's #2 car had an Indy 500 entry guaranteed before it even turned a wheel, courtesy of a regulation that granted the top 25 in the IRL points standings an automatic place in the field.
Nonetheless, he'd been quick that day, his 232.684mph average enough to put him comfortably on the second row.