Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harrington's Bubble Doesn't Burst; He Qualifies in Some Fast Company

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Harrington's Bubble Doesn't Burst; He Qualifies in Some Fast Company

Article excerpt

Scott Harrington has the slowest car among the 33 that will start Sunday's Indianapolis 500.

He couldn't be happier.

Harrington, who this time last year was racing sports cars down the road at Indianapolis Raceway Park, survived a difficult month of May, including some anxious minutes Sunday perched precariously on Indy's "bubble."

When the gun fired at 6 p.m., signifying the end of qualifying for the May 26 race, another car was roaring down the track in a last-ditch attempt to grab the last spot - and bump Harrington.

But when Tyce Carlson failed to top Harrington's four-lap average speed of 222.185 mph, the field was set. And Harrington, 32, was in it.

"If I had to write a story about this month," he said, "I don't think I could've written it any better."

There certainly was plenty of intrigue Sunday. Harrington didn't have one of the 25 guaranteed spots in the field. Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reserved those positions for the top Indy Racing League teams, which led to a major dispute with Championship Auto Racing Teams.

CART, unwilling to have its drivers compete for a handful of spots at Indy, then made plans to stage its own race, the U.S. 500, on May 26 at Michigan International Speedway.

Thus, the two races will go head-to-head Sunday. Many of Indy-car racing's "names" will be at Michigan. Indy will have a few veterans and "a lot of new faces," as vet Eddie Cheever put it. And, of course, the usual 400,000 or so fans.

Harrington, one of 17 rookies to make the field, arrived at Indy with high hopes. But he ran into a multitude of problems, including a balky gearbox, a smack against the wall, a car that just wouldn't respond . . .

For much of Sunday, it appeared as if Harrington's luck wasn't going to improve:

5:10 p.m.: With 50 minutes remaining, Harrington's red, No. 44 machine is rolled to the inspection area, ready for a qualifying attempt. His speeds in practice earlier finally seemed to warrant a try.

5:20 p.m.: Oops. The car fails to pass the exam by race officials and is rolled back out of the area. An adjustment is made quickly, and the car is pushed back for reinspection. …

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