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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Dale Coyne Racing is making a driver switch for Indianapolis 500 qualifying Saturday.
The team is putting Tristan Vautier in the No. 19 car, which had been driven by James Davison of Australia. Davison is still expected to race May 24. Team spokesman Trevor Moore said the switch was made because Davison was scheduled to race in Canada this weekend.
Davison had been among the slower drivers during this week's practice, and Vautier hasn't had much more luck. He finished 32nd in Friday's practice with a fast lap of 226.860 mph. Vautier was one of two drivers who did not make it onto the track on a cool, overcast morning Saturday when speeds topped 233 mph.
The 30 quickest cars Saturday will be locked into the 33-car starting grid with the top nine advancing to Sunday's pole shootout. The last three starting spots could be bumped Sunday. One of the 34 cars attempting to start the race will be left out.
According to the rules, if one driver qualifies a car and another starts the race that car must start from the back of the field.
The last time a substitute was used in qualifying was 1981 when Wally Dallenbach replaced Mario Andretti, who was competing in a Formula One race on qualifying weekend. Andretti started 32nd and wound up finishing second to Bobby Unser in a contested finish that wasn't settled for 138 days.
Andretti also needed a substitute in qualifying in 1978 because he was racing in Europe that weekend.
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