Despite going into the final day of qualifying for the 92nd Indianapolis 500 confident of making the 33-car field, neither Max Papis or Mario Dominguez was able to fulfil their dreams.

Early runs failed to materialise for the pair, allowing AJ Foyt IV and the man he 'bumped', Marty Roth, to claim - and reclaim - places on the grid, but the real drama was left until the final half-hour of the day, with Buddy Lazier, Dominguez, Roger Yasukawa and Papis all squabbling over spots in the field.

Lazier, a former winner of the 'greatest spectacle in racing' was the first to make a bid, but waived off his effort after an interim 217.191mph speed left him with too much too do to displace Yasukawa, who had dropped 'onto the bubble' with Roth's requalification.

With 22 minutes remaining on the clock, Dominguez ventured out for his first qualifying run of the day, and proved successful as he guided the Pacific Coast Motorsports entry to a four-lap average of 218.620mph, displacing Yasukawa in the process.

The American-Japanese driver tried to respond immediately, but missed out by less than a tenth of a mile an hour, clocking 218.559mph, leaving Dominguez clinging precariously to the final position in the field.

Papis duly rolled out for his first effort of the day with twelve minutes remaining, but stalled the rebuilt Rubicon car as he left to pull out on track. The problem, however, appeared to be clutch related and the Italian was done for the day - and the year - as too little time was left for the team to effect repairs.

Lazier was thus able to start his last-ditch attempt slightly earlier than anticipated, and responded by upping the ante with a four-lap speed of 219.015mph to bump Dominguez back into the queue of hopefuls.

Yasukawa's next attempt again came up short, the CURB/Agajanian/Beck Car posting 218.476mph, leaving just enough time for Dominguez to have one last shot at getting PCM into the show.

The Mexican started promisingly, opening up with a 219mph+ lap, but then brought the day to a dramatic close by losing the Mexico City-backed Dallara on lap two and making heavy contact with the wall.

In pit-lane, Roth slowly unbuckled and stood up in the cockpit of his self-run entry, relieved not to have missed out at the death.

The Canadian will duly occupy the final position on the grid, alongside Foyt - who took the Red Gold prize for the fastest single lap of qualifying - and Lazier, who earned Firestone's money as the final qualifier of the four-day process, on the revised eleventh row.

Papis, Dominguez and Yasukawa, meanwhile, were left to lick their wounds - some more literally than others - as the field now prepares for Carb Day and the 500 itself.

 

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