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Hinchcliffe, Mann Face Final Bump; Castroneves Fastest Heading into Pole Day

The pendulum between ecstasy and agony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway swung cruelly again for James Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann both failed to qualify for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil during Bump Day qualifying Saturday, as the 33 drivers who will re-qualify for their spots on the grid Sunday were set during a dramatic, tense day of qualifying.

The shocking bump of popular Verizon IndyCar Series standout Hinchcliffe came two years after he claimed an emotional pole for the historic 100th Indianapolis 500, which came a year after he suffered a serious, season-ending injury in a crash during “500” practice.

“It’s devastating in every way possible,” Hinchcliffe said of failing to qualify. “Indy is a cruel mistress sometimes – the highest of highs, the lowest of lows. Everyone at SPM worked their tails off to get these cars ready. We have three cars in the show. Unfortunately, the fourth one didn’t make it. We win as a team; we lose as a team. It’s crazy to be here after where we were two years ago.”

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was the fastest qualifier, with a four-lap average speed of 228.919 mph in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet. Castroneves was one of 11 drivers who made attempts early in the qualifying line before a brief, intense shower forced a two-hour, 20-minute delay.

“For me and Team Penske, I have phenomenal teammates, which helps the program keep going forward,” Castroneves said. “Obviously my run was earlier; the weather was much more consistent. When you have that kind of scenario, helps a lot.”

Pole Day qualifying on Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend will start from 2:45-4:45 p.m. Sunday on the 2.5-mile oval, as the drivers who posted the 10th- through 33rd-fastest times Saturday will requalify to fill those spots in the grid. 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was the 10th fastest today at 227.561 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda, while James Davison ended up on the bubble as 33rd fastest at 224.798 in the No. 33 Jonathan Byrd’s 502 East Chevrolet.

The Fast Nine Shootout to set the first three rows of the grid will take place from 5-5:45 p.m. Danica Patrick, making the final start of her career, was ninth fastest Saturday at 227.610 in the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet and will be the first car on track in the Shootout.

All qualifying times from Saturday are erased Sunday. Each driver in both the 10-33 qualifying and the Fast Nine Shootout will get one qualifying attempt, with the qualifying order proceeding from the slowest to the fastest speeds set Saturday.

Joining Castroneves and Patrick in the Fast Nine Shootout will be two-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter (second Saturday), Simon Pagenaud (third), 2017 INDYCAR Grand Prix winner Will Power (fourth), Sebastien Bourdais (fifth), Spencer Pigot (sixth), Josef Newgarden (seventh) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner Scott Dixon (eighth).

Team Penske placed all four of its cars in the Fast Nine Shootout with Castroneves, Pagenaud, Power and Newgarden, while Ed Carpenter Racing placed its three drivers, Carpenter, Pigot and Patrick. Chevrolet has seven drivers in the Shootout, Honda two.

Hinch Bump

Bumping occurred at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the first time since 2011, and the starting grid remained in flux during a wild, dramatic 55 final minutes of qualifying after the first trip through the qualifying order.

Indiana native Conor Daly was bumped from the field twice in the last 55 minutes but earned a spot in the 33-car field with a run of 224.874 mph in the No. 17 United States Air Force Honda with 23 minutes to go in qualifying. That run bumped his best friend, Hinchcliffe, from the field.

Hinchcliffe returned to the track with 13 minutes remaining in qualifying for another attempt, but he quickly pulled off track due to a vibration. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team scurried to change tires on his No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda, and he jumped back in the fast lane of the qualifying line behind Mann.

Mann made two unsuccessful qualifying attempts in the No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda after being bumped by Daly with 46 minutes left. Her second failed attempt came as the starter’s gun was fired to end qualifying, leaving Hinchcliffe at the front of the qualifying line and with no chance to make the field.

Pippa Bump

“When we got back in line for the last run, we took every single trim we could possibly could to the race car,” Mann said. “We did everything.

“Obviously it wasn't enough. It's the worst feeling in the world.”

Oriol Servia needed three attempts to make the field but placed the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa/Manitowoc Honda into the 33-car field with 32 minutes left.

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