Ganassi CART rookies get Indy reprieve

Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian will get a chance to make the field for the 85th Indianapolis 500 after all.

Ganassi CART rookies get Indy reprieve

When team owner Chip Ganassi announced he was parking his two CART drivers in favour of Jimmy Vasser and Tony Stewart in this year's Indy 500, it appeared the two rookies would have to wait at least a year to drive in the biggest race in the world. But after Stewart and Vasser were able to qualify safely into the field during Saturday's Pole Qualifications, Ganassi has decided to give his drivers another chance.

Ganassi announced on Saturday that the two drivers would practice on Sunday and attempt to make the field later that day.

"Because we have two cars available, it will be great experience for the two rookies," Ganassi said. "Bruno and Nicolas are great drivers and now they get a chance to race at Indy. They've shown they can compete in the FedEx Series, and I want to give them this opportunity to qualify for the race.

"If nothing else, it will be invaluable experience for next year."

Junqueira is the 2000 FIA F3000 champion and has competed in just one oval track race in his career, last Sunday's Lehigh Valley Grand Prix at Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

"I can't wait to get in the car tomorrow," Junqueira said. "This has always been a dream of mine and I want to make the most of this opportunity. We were the fastest here at rookie orientation and I am confident that I will be able to get into the field."

Minassian is a rookie from France and is equally excited about his second chance at Indy.

"The Indianapolis 500 is the biggest race in the world and I am ready to go qualify," Minassian said. "I want to thank Chip for giving me this opportunity. We will not have much practice time tomorrow but I learned a lot here in testing. I'll be ready to get in the car and try to make the field."

Second-round qualifications for the Indy 500 begin at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time.

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