Arie Luyendyk's only consolation was the track record and a huge dose of satisfaction that it came at the expense of his former race team.
Luyendyk shattered Scott Brayton's day-old qualifying records on Sunday, but because of an inadvertent violation, Luyendyk will start the rookie-laden Indianapolis 500 from the seventh row on May 26.Twelve of the 26 qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday were first-year drivers, guaranteeing the largest rookie class at Indy since 1932. And at least seven other rookies hope to join the 33-car lineup this coming weekend.
Once Brayton beat out Luyendyk for the pole position for the second year in a row, all that was left for the 1990 Indy winner was to go full throttle for speed.
"I just said to the guys, `Let's try to get a record. We know the car can do it,"' said Luyendyk, whose departure from Team Menard last year wasn't entirely amicable. "It didn't take much to get the car up to speed, and we didn't want to fiddle with it."
Brayton, who also beat Luyendyk for the pole last year, earned his second inside front-row start after a gutsy decision to withdraw his primary car, which he had qualified sixth-fastest on Saturday. Then, in his backup, he turned a four-lap average of 233.718 mph with a top lap of 233.851, breaking records set earlier by Davy Jones, rookie Menard teammate Tony Stewart and then Luyendyk.
But the U.S. Auto Club discovered Luyendyk's qualified car was seven pounds too light, so that run was disallowed.
With one night to rectify the situation, Luyendyk's new Treadway-Byrd team had his preferred car ready to go, and as soon as qualifications opened on Sunday, Luyendyk ripped off consecutive laps of 236.239 mph, 236.948, 237.260 and 237.498. His four-lap average was 236.986.