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2013 Indy 500: Last-minute Legge makes it 34

Katherine Legge has clinched a literally last-minute chance to make it ont the grid of the 2013 Indianapolis 500 after a late deal with Schmidt-Peterson.
Katherine Legge said recently that she hadn't given up hope of making an appearance in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 despite her being let-go over the offseason by Dragon Racing. But even so, confirmation on Pole Day - the official day of qualifying for the race - was cutting it fine.

"I'm psyched to get back in the car," said Legge after being unveiled as the driver of the #81 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car on Saturday. "Especially at Indy, because this is such a special place."

"Katherine's top-10 finish in Fontana last year showed me that she has the speed and endurance to finish a 500-mile race, which are the most grueling conditions our drivers encounter," said team owner Sam Schmidt.

Schmidt had entered an extra car in the Indy 500 alongside his regular all-French line-up of Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier, but not announced a driver until today. The official line had been that Schmidt wanted to make sure both Pagenaud and Vautier were safely locked into the race before risking pitting resources to introduce a wild card.

That means the team is scrambling today to get the new #81 ready for Legge to make her qualifying run in: "Our team is working very hard to build her car and give her the equipment she needs to qualify and race competitively at Indianapolis," Schmidt said.

Legge's addition to the official entry list means that there are now 34 cars trying to make it onto the 33-car starting grid for next weekend's Indianapolis 500 - so someone is going to lose out and Bump Day is going to live up to its name one way or another.

Legge is just hoping that it isn't her: she desperately wants to make today the start of her 2013 Indy adventure and not just a one-day wonder.

"I owe a huge thank you to Honda, Firestone, the IZOD IndyCar Series and especially Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports for pulling this together in the last minute to get the car on track," said the 32-year old English driver, who recently finished on the podium in her maiden outing in the DeltaWing at the American Le Mans Series race at Laguna Seca, Monterey.

Legge said that ties with Schmidt and his team went back further than anyone had realised, and even pre-dated her ill-fated stint at Dragon last year,

"I was talking with Sam in 2011 about driving one of his cars," she revealed. "I'm so excited to finally get in one of them and work with the entire team in addition to Simon and Tristan."

Qualifying for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 got off to a delayed start after rain and wet conditions on the track prevented the green flag from flying for the first two and a half hours on Saturday. The scheduled has been revised and will now run later into the evening than originally planned, weather permitting.



Related Pictures

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Katherine Legge (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. LAT Photo (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Katherine Legge`s (#6) first lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an Indy Car during practice for the 2012 IndyCar Indy 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, F. Peirce Williams LAT Photo USA (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Katherine Legge (Dragon Racing) thanks a crewman after passing her rookie test during the 2012 Indy 500 practice - 12-27 May 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012, Michael L. Levitt. (Photo Credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Katherine Legge joins Schmidt-Peterson Motorsport on Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Saturday, May 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Katherine Legge joins Schmidt-Peterson Motorsport on Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Saturday, May 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Katherine Legge joins Schmidt-Peterson Motorsport on Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Saturday, May 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Katherine Legge joins Schmidt-Peterson Motorsport on Pole Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Saturday, May 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Pit lane (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon spins during practice (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin slides into his machine prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
The pylon at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin sits in his machine prior to practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin receives a handshake before his qualification attempt for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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