Although many Indy 500 purists have been upset by the lack of bumping and competition for the 33 starting places in the 88th running of the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' PDM Racing and 'old school' IRL favourite Robby McGehee have ensured that the age old tradition of the Indianapolis underdog will survive for at least one more year.

In a month where news surfaced that Paul Diatlovich's tiny squad of enthusiasts had finally succumbed to the financial pressures of the new look IRL IndyCar Series, once again the #18 squad defied the odds and put a car into the 'Big Show.'

St Louis based McGehee, whose proposed ride for Indy disappeared just days before practice began, managed to secure sponsorship from local firm Natoli Engineering in the run-up to Bump Day and successfully qualified at the first time of asking.

"I'm not comfortable with the speed we qualified with," said McGehee, who posted the slowest four lap qualifying average of the 33 starters. "I don't think it would stand up to another qualifier, but I think the PDM crew did a great job in the Natoli Engineering car."

McGehee, whose last IRL IndyCar Series ride came with Panther Racing in last year's Indy 500, qualified PDM's familiar #18 Dallara-Chevrolet with an average speed of 211.631mph and still had to endure the unbearably tense feeling of 'being on the bubble.' However while most 'bubble drivers' have to watch the on-track action with their fingers and toes crossed, McGehee and Co. were concentrating on what was happening off the track as several drivers (most notably Tony Stewart and Jaques Lazier) tried to secure a last gasp run at the Indy field.

However when both Lazier and Stewart failed to get a qualifying attempt in before the 6pm time limit, McGehee and PDM were safe and one of the few remaining original IRL teams had booked its place on the most prestigious stage of them all for one more year.

In addition to primary backers Natoli Engineering, the red and yellow #18 Dallara will carry associate sponsorship from Royal Spa, Wanforce, Lodging Hospitality Management and National Studios.