Rookies Raul Boesel and John Paul Jr. led seven qualifiers yesterday as the tentative 33-car field -- the fastest in the history of auto racing -- was filled for the May 26 Indianapolis 500.
The four-lap qualification runs by Boesel, Paul, Indy veterans Chip Ganassi, Johnny Parsons, George Snider and Tony Bettenhausen and rookie Jim Crawford left nonqualified drivers only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's "bumping" procedure as a way of making the race when time trials conclude today.
Anyone turning in a faster qualifying run prior to the end of the fourth and final day of time trials today at 7 p.m. EDT would bump the slowest qualified entries out of the lineup, as Paul did to Derek Daly, Bettenhausen to Chet Fillip and Crawford to Kevin Cogan yesterday.
That left Steve Chassey (204.224 mph) as the driver most likely to be bumped today, with three-time Indy winner Johnny Rutherford just behind at 204.495.
Boesel, 27, was the first to make a qualifying attempt on the cool, sunny day, turning in four laps averaging 206.498 mph in a March-Cosworth. That earned him the $17,500 for being the fastest qualifier of the day.
The average for the 33 qualified cars is 207.830 mph, breaking the Indianapolis record of 203.686 set last May. That also bettered the all-time racing record of 204.669, set by a 24-car Indy-car field last September at Michigan International Speedway.
Paul, 25, went out for a qualifying try in the morning and did a lap at 205.039. But his March jumped out of gear on the next trip around the 2.5-mile oval and the speed dropped to 201.721. He called off that attempt and the crew pushed the car back to its garage to fix the transmission. He also waved off on an attempt during the first weekend of qualifying.
Paul, a former sports car endurance champion, is scheduled to drive in an International Motor Sports Association Camel GT race today in Charlotte, N.C., so he was relieved when he finally completed his run to become the fifth rookie in the tentative field . . .
In Dover, Del., Terry Labonte was the top qualifier to take the pole for NASCAR's Grand National Budweiser 500 stock car race. Labonte, current points leader and defending Winston Cup champion, had a qualifying speed of 138.106 mph on his first of two laps. Harry Gant had the second fastest speed of 137.883 mph, followed by Neil Bonnett, Bill Elliott and Ricky Rudd . . .
Darrell Waltrip took the lead for good on the 76th lap and went on to easily outdistance a field of 30 cars in the Budweiser 200 for Late Model Sportsman cars at Dover Downs International Speedway. It was Waltrip's second late model win this season. He won the Budweiser 200 at Bristol, Tenn., March 30 . . .
In Monte Carlo, Ayrton Senna, in a Lotus-Renault, won his third straight pole position in qualifying for today's 43rd Monaco Grand Prix . . .
Ron McBee of Harmons, Md., won his third straight late-model feature at Dorsey (Md.) Speedway, outrunning Ralph Ehlers of Arbutus, Md.
McBee was in the rear of the field after an accident on the third lap, but worked his way to second by the midpoint of the 25-lap race. He took the lead from Ehlers with 10 laps to go and held on to win. Ray Kable of Owings Mills, Md., was third . . .
Curtis Markham of Richmond won the Jerry's Giant Lincoln Mercury 100-lap feature late model stock car race at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas before approximately 4,000.
Eddie Johnson of Ashland, Va., led for 93 laps, but dropped out with a blown engine. Roger Austin of Nokesville, Va., finished second, seven lengths behind Markham. Charlie Ford of Richmond was third. The top three finishers were Camaro, Camaro and Thunderbird.