"We were in the field with a good enough time, but it was taken away because the car was illegal, so that's pretty much why we're not there today," said Conway. "Luckily there aren't enough cars here to bump us out. We've got to go qualify again, do a time, and that's it. Focus on race stuff."
The surprise of the day was the poor showing of the Honda cars compared to the Chevrolet stable. Only one Honda-powered driver - Josef Newgarden - made it into the fast nine pole shootout stage, with two of the most highly-fancied Ganassi runners - Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti - opting to settle for 15th and 16th positions rather than risk deleting their times and gambling on a new run late in the day.
"It wasn't too bad," insisted Dixon. "The car was balanced pretty good; we got a little neutral in the corners. The way the configuration of the car is, it's pretty well stuck. The next step makes it slide. We're still struggling a little bit, but we're doing the best that we can."
"It's not been a very good qualifying day for us," said a less sanguine Franchitti. "It just shows that everybody can get it wrong sometimes. Today as a unit, myself and the rest of the Target guys, we're just off. We're not where we need to be to qualify for the pole. There's a bit of head-scratching going on."
The session saw three accidents during the main five-hour qualifying session the first being for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing's rookie Bryan Clauson. The SFHR team now faces a race against time to get the spare car ready for Clauson to attempt to qualify on Sunday.
It's a tough deal," said Clauson's SFHR team mate Newgarden. "It can bite you really quick here. He's not put a foot wrong all month.
"It's a tough break for Bryan and a tough break for the team," he continued. "He's worked hard all week and done a really good job. He was quick, too. That's the shame of it. I think he would have been right behind me, and it's just one of those deals."
Oriol Servia also ended up spinning out of turn 4, making contact with the inside wall and also with the pit lane attenuator - the leading edge of the wall dividing the pit lane from the main track.
The biggest wreck was that of Ed Carpenter, who was trying to respond after being bumped out of the top 24 positions but ended up spinning into turn 2 and sliding along the wall propped up on the left side of the car, causing extensive damage to the #67. The owner-driver will be relieved that he has that second car in reserve after all and hadn't been tempted to sell it on to another team.
"I was trying to qualify for the Indy 500, so I wasn't going to lift. I'll do the same thing tomorrow to make this race. If I crash another car, then I crash another car," he said.