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Long wait for qualifying leaves Indy 500 fans frustrated

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis 500 fans expected to see higher speeds than they got in Sunday’s qualifying.

Instead, they spent most of the day waiting around after Ed Carpenter crashed in the morning practice and went airborne. As series officials looked for a solution to this week’s biggest concern, cars flipping through the air, qualifying was delayed for more than five hours and frustration in the stands mounted.

“I understand why they did it,” said Mick Bryant, a 52-year-old fan from Greenfield, Indiana. “For me it wasn’t bad. I hung out in the garage, but for everybody else, it was terrible. There was nothing to do.”

Bryant spent the down time waiting for three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves to sign a photo of his upside-down car from Wednesday’s practice. That was the first of the three spectacular but frightening crashes this week.

But the long wait was only part of the problem.

The delay prompted race organizers to eliminate the most exciting part of the day, the nine-car pole shootout, in favor of a 45-minute bumping session at the end of the day.

“I came today because I thought that’s when all of the excitement was, with the fast nine,” said 51-year-old Duane Brashes of Noblesville, Indiana. “It’s still about the fastest driver winning the pole, but I think the fast nine is exciting.”

The bumping session was tough to watch, too.

The last three cars to make the 33-car field had to requalify but nobody moved up or down on the grid and the one driver who didn’t get a chance to take a shot at the pole, 1996 winner Buddy Lazier, still couldn’t qualify on the final run of the day.

“It’s pretty boring just to sit there,” said 59-year-old David White of Fishers, Indiana.

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