Michel Jourdain Jr has failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500

Mexico will be without a representative on this year’s Indianapolis 500 starting grid after Michel Jourdain Jr earned the ignominious ‘Bump Day’ honour of being the sole driver to fail to qualify for this year’s famous oval race.

The former Champ Car racewinner made a surprise comeback to the US open-wheel racing scene last year, and returned for another bite of the cherry in a third entry run by the famous Rahal Letterman Lanigan stable.

Hopes were high that he could improve on his 19th-placed finish earned last year, but this year he will have to watch the team’s two full-time entries compete from the sidelines.

The poor performance of the RLL squad was one of several storylines that have garnered plenty of column inches as the build-up to this year’s race continues.

Graham Rahal managed to avoid the embarrassment of a non-qualificationWhile the team’s oval specialist James Jakes avoided the potentially fraught ‘Bump Day’ antics with the eighteenth-fastest effort, teammate Graham Rahal had to endure another round of qualifying, going second-fastest of the remaining ten entrants hoping to squeeze onto the 33-car field.

Until the final 48 hours, Jourdain would have qualified for the race regardless, but the late signing of Katherine Legge into a third Schmidt Peterson Hamilton entry pushed the entry list to 34 cars, meaning that one unlucky driver wouldn’t make it any further.

Jourdain hadn’t been remotely on the pace in any of the preceding practice sessions, and resorting to the set-ups used by his stablemates just made things worse. He abandoned his qualifying effort with 20 minutes of the session to run.

“This morning we tried James Jakes’ set-up, and it was impossible to drive. And then we tried Graham’s set-up, but it felt exactly the same and we couldn’t drive it,” he shrugged afterwards.

His issues ensured that Legge – who drove part-time for the Dragon Racing squad last year and was sensationally sacked during the off-season – would make the grid, claiming the final spot in the field alongside fellow back-row starters Buddy Lazier and IndyCar debutante Conor Daly.

Legge was gracious in her celebrations, and empathised with Jourdain’s plight.

“It’s not nice for him to not have the opportunity. However I am happy I am in the field, I’m not going to lie about that. I’m going to sleep tonight for the first time in a few days,” she said.

“I feel really bad for Michel. I can’t even think what’s going through his head. I’m gutted for him.”

2013 IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Final Qualifying Results:

Driver   Entry / Team ‘Pole Day’ Result
1. Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing 228.762mph
2. Carlos Muñoz Andretti Autosport 228.342mph
3. Marco Andretti USA Andretti Autosport 228.261mph
4. E.J. Viso Team Venzuela / Andretti 228.150mph
5. A.J. Allmendinger USA Team Penske 228.099mph
6. Will Power AUS Team Penske 228.087mph
7. Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 227.904mph
8. Hélio Castroneves BRA Team Penske 227.762mph
9. James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport 227.070mph
10. JR Hildebrand USA Panther Racing 227.441mph
11. Alex Tagliani CAN Barracuda Racing 227.386mph
12. Tony Kanaan BRA KV Racing Technology 226.949mph
13. Oriol Servià Panther / Dreyer & Reinbold 226.814mph
14. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing 226.370mph
15. Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing 226.196mph
16. Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 226.159mph
17. Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 226.069mph
18. Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises 226.892mph
19. Charlie Kimball USA Chip Ganassi Racing 225.880mph
20. James Jakes Rahal Letterman Lanigan 225.809mph
21. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing 225.674mph
22. Townsend Bell USA Panther Racing 225.643mph
23. Ryan Briscoe AUS Chip Ganassi Racing 225.265mph
24. Simona de Silvestro KV Racing Technology 225.226mph
Driver   Entry / Team ‘Bump Day’ Result
25. Josef Newgarden USA Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 225.731mph
26. Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan 225.007mph
27. Sebastián Saavedra Dragon Racing 224.929mph
28. Tristan Vautier Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing 224.873mph
29. Ana Beatriz BRA Dale Coyne Racing 224.184mph
30. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing 224.005mph
31. Conor Daly USA AJ Foyt Enterprises 223.582mph
32. Buddy Lazier USA Lazier Partners Racing 223.442mph
33. Katherine Legge Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Racing 223.176mph
  Did Not Qualify        
DNQ. Michel Jourdain Jr Rahal Letterman Lanigan No Attempt

Matthew Lennon
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.