Three of the four drivers who crashed on the third qualifying day at Indianapolis on Saturday have been cleared to return to action on Bump Day, should they desire, but Phil Giebler remains hospitalised after his Turn One accident.

The Californian was attempting to get the American Dream entry into the field after joining the qualifying programme in week two, but lost control and hit the wall in a fiery accident that saw him taken to Methodist Hospital with pulmonary contusions. Unlikely to be able to retake his seat on Bump Day, the team is now apparently scouring the pits for a spare car in which to give Jaques Lazier a shot at qualifying for next weekend's 500.

There was better news elsewhere, with veterans Max Papis and Mario Dominguez given the all-clear to resume after Saturday morning shunts which ruled them out of qualifying and leave them facing the Bump Day ordeal if they are to make the field.

"I just lost the rear end going into Turn One," the Mexican commented, "We've been fighting understeer there all week and working hard to stabilise the car. This is a huge setback for us.

"Fortunately, I wasn't going that fast at that point, and I lost it early so I scrubbed a lot of speed and it looks like the damage isn't too bad. The boys thought they may be able to get it fixed in time to qualify today - if they can get the parts. I am keeping my fingers crossed."

The fourth incident involved rookie Hideki Mutoh, whose place in the top eleven had already been confirmed on Pole Day a week ago. The Andretti Green Racing driver got too high into Turn Two and brushed the wall. Like Papis and Dominguez, the Japanese driver was uninjured and should return to practice should AGR decide to ready the #27.

"I lost control," Mutoh confessed, "That was my in-lap and I wasn't pushing very hard, but I don't know why I suddenly lost it."

Dominguez and Papis will be joined by AJ Foyt IV - and possibly Lazier - in attempting to bump the slowest qualifiers from the field today [Sunday]. Foyt prepared to qualify twice on Saturday, but waved off the first attempt after a bobble in Turn Two, and then experienced mechanical difficulties on the out-lap of his second attempt.

Off-track, Series medical director Dr Mike Olinger revealed that Dale Coyne Racing crew member Charles Buckman is now recuperating at home, following five nights in Methodist Hospital, after being injured in a 9 May pit-lane incident involving Danica patrick's AGR entry.

"The only problem I am having right now is a case of vertigo when I sit or stand up," Buckman reported, "Besides that, my right arm is bruised all over, I have a fracture in my skull, my face is scraped, and I have to wear a neck brace for a month. Other than that, I feel fine and want to get back to work.

"All I remember at this point was walking down pit-lane to get my jacket, and I stopped off to talk with someone from Marco Andretti's crew - everything after that is blank. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was not Danica's fault, and I do not hold her to blame for what happened. In my 35 years in auto racing, this is the first time anything this bad has happened to me. I'm just thankful that I'm still alive."

 

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