INDIANAPOLIS --- John Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay provided the drama Sunday, saving their best efforts for the last 10 minutes at the end of four days of Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
Both wound up in the 33-car field for Sunday's race, thanks to their qualifying runs with time running out on another emotional "Bump Day" on the famed 2.5-mile Brickyard oval.
"I'm glad the race isn't tomorrow," said Andretti, who didn't wrap up his 10th Indy start until his third and final qualifying attempt of the day. "I couldn't do it. I don't think I could get in the car. I'm physically, mentally, just totally exhausted."
Andretti and Hunter-Reay, whose successful qualifying effort was under way as the gun went off ending the six-hour final session of time trials, both had to find more speed after being bumped out of the lineup earlier in the day.
The field was filled Saturday, but poor weather conditions, including gusty wind, kept the speeds of the slowest qualifiers low enough to make them vulnerable to bumping by faster drivers. Speeds climbed considerably on the final day of qualifying, thanks to a cool, sunny afternoon with little wind.
Andretti tried to bump his way back in with about two hours to go, but waved off the effort after one lap at 218. He went back out with 20 minutes left in the session and managed four laps at 220.282, but it wasn't enough.
In his last try, he put up four laps in a row topping 221 mph for an average of 221.316 that placed him 28th in the field and bumped out the 220.413 Hunter-Reay had posted earlier in the day.
Hunter-Reay drove onto the track with just two minutes until the gun and knowing he had to beat Indy rookie Alex Tagliani's 220.553 from Saturday or go home. He barely made it with four laps topping 220 and a 220.597 average -- just 0.044 seconds quicker than Tagliani over 10 miles.