Giebler improving; Texas race next for team
American Dream Motorsports' bid to make the 500 never made it to the qualifying line, as Phil Giebler
crashed Saturday during practice laps. He was hospitalized overnight with bruised lungs and released Sunday but not cleared to race.
He wouldn't have raced at Indy anyway, because the Panoz-Honda could not be repaired in time for Sunday qualifying, but Saturday night team owner Eric Zimmerman was still exploring ways to get back on the track, possibly with Jaques Lazier
in a car bought from somewhere else in the garage. That never materialized, but Zimmerman said the team would acquire a new Dallara in time for the June 7 race at Texas Motor Speedway and as many as four more races, with plans to go full-time in 2009.
"Phil is still our driver and we back him 100 percent," Zimmerman said. "Until he gets better, Jaques will be in the car, but Phil is our driver."
Windswept day of work
For teams safely in the field, Sunday was one final full day of work before Carb Day and race day. Rain wasn't a problem, but gusty winds made it tough for some to accomplish much on the oval.
"The car was moving around all over the place, and I just couldn't trust it," said Sarah Fisher
, 22nd on the grid. "We have a good race car, and running around the track in these conditions isn't accomplishing much for us. So as an owner, I had to make that decision to park it for the day."
Newman/Haas/Lanigan rookies Graham Rahal
and Justin Wilson
found the conditions more to their liking, making laps in traffic.
"We used today to fine-tune our race setup," Wilson said. "We ran in some traffic again, and the car feels pretty good. I'm hopeful that we've done all our preparation the right way and have quite a good race car. We'll just have to sit and ponder it for the next week."
A long way back after crash
never made a qualifying attempt Sunday in the No. 44 Rubicon Race Team entry, but it wasn't for lack of frenzied effort Saturday and into Sunday. The Italian crashed hard in morning practice before third-day qualifying, giving his team a ton of work to do and about 24 hours to do it.
The chronology of getting the No. 44 back together, according to the IndyCar Series:
- Noon-4 p.m. Saturday: Team collects parts from all over garage, including Dallara and Vision Racing.
- 5 p.m.: Engine change.
- 5-10 p.m.: Took several parts to Sam Schmidt Motorsports shop in Indianapolis for additional work.
- 1 a.m. Sunday: Some team members went home. Some did not. Crew chief Chris Griffis never left the track after arriving Saturday morning.
- 10:30 a.m.: Full team continues to work on Gasoline Alley.
- 1:14 p.m.: No. 44 back on track.
"We rebuilt it with a lot of effort and tried as hard as we could, and I guess that today was not meant to be," said Papis, a two-time 500 starter, most recently in 2006. "The word 'disappointment' is not enough to describe it."