Michel Jourdain Jr. was the only driver who failed to make the Indianapolis 500 field during Bump Day qualifying Sunday.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver from Mexico tried to get into the field Saturday, the first day of qualifying, but fell short. The team switched engines and copied setups from teammates Graham Rahal and James Jakes to help figure out what was wrong. Nothing worked.
Jourdain never posted an official time Sunday because the team backed off 15 minutes before the final deadline, sensing it couldn’t reach the 33rd-place time to get into the field for May 26 race. Katherine Legge held on with an average speed of 223.176 mph for four laps.
“We tried to change everything we could, but we just could not go fast enough,” Jourdain said. “It’s no point of putting the car in the wall.
“We know for sure something’s wrong with the car. Something’s bent, broken, bending, loose. Something’s wrong from in the car that we haven’t seen all week.”
On Saturday, Jourdain had an average of 219.466 on his first run, then had a 218.329. After the rough outing, the team switched the engine. On Sunday morning, he tried the setups from Rahal and Jakes.
“We thought it was going to be a little better, but it was really never there,” Jourdain said. “It was impossible to drive.”
It was that way all week for Jourdain’s car.
“It was going to be very hard,” he said. “All week, we struggled. Right away, I didn’t feel the car very well.”
Jourdain didn’t argue with his team’s decision not to try again.
“There’s no point of going out if you’re not going to make it,” he said.
Legge finally can focus on the race.
“I haven’t slept in like, three days, so I’m going to sleep tonight, which is good,” she said. “It’s been a long day, but it’s been a great day and a great opportunity.
“So just happy now, relieved to be in the field.”
She said she felt badly for Jourdain.
“It’s never nice to see somebody not get the opportunity to go out there and do that,” she said. “So I feel bad for him.
“He must be devastated.”
Jourdain was disappointed for his sponsors and supporters.
“This is my only race of the year, and you know, everybody worked so hard, and my sponsors, they trusted me with this and this is a very big project,” he said. “Lot of people coming from Mexico next week for this, so it’s hard.