INDIANAPOLIS – A year ago this weekend, James Davison had to sweat out an exhausting opening day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying. Davison, wound up being the final qualifier in the field when the gun went off on a stressful Saturday afternoon.
It was a day that could take years off ones life.
Fast forward to Saturday, Davison returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a brand new team and after his qualifying run on Saturday, he doesn’t have to worry like he has in the past.
James Davison practices at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past week – INDYCAR Media Site
Davison, turned a four lap average of 228.273 mph in his No. 33 Honda to qualify a career best 15th for next Sunday’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). With spots 10th through 30th automatically locked in, Davison doesn’t have to worry about qualifying again.
“It’s tough when you’re a one-off Indy entry,” a joyful Davison said on Saturday following his qualifying run. “You don’t have the chemistry. You don’t have the full season momentum. That just felt really great and gratifying. I think that’s why I think entries shouldn’t be locked in here. If a team does that good of a job right, they deserve to make it. Obviously, we’re comfortably in but imagine if our car was a bit slower and they did an awesome job right with maybe a P34 car and made it P32 but they didn’t make the race. It’s a full team effort here to make it into the race. I’m just really proud of my guys.
“It seems like we’ll be comfortably in. A completely different situation than last year but again last year my team did the best with what we had you know. We probably didn’t have the car to make it in but we did. The other team that didn’t make it in but didn’t. I think that entries that deserve to make it make it you know.”
Davison, said Saturday was a result of a whole team effort and that they have the right people around them to make this car a contender. In fact, he took solace that he outqualified drivers like Tony Kanaan, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay and others.
“They’ve punched above their weight,” Davison said of his team. “That’s why I was so pumped. I feel like we’re on pole for how we did. My team just did so awesome. I’m so proud of them.”
Davison, said that he can finally relax on a qualifying weekend and not have to be on edge for the rest of the week.
Last year, he moved all the way up to 19th on the second day of qualifying. The two years prior to that, he started last in 33rd. Each of his ‘500 starts though, Davison has been a hard charger. How does his car this year rank with them?
“We haven’t had the fastest car but have been able to pass some cars,” Davison said of how his race car felt in practice this week. “We’re solid. After last year, I’ll just take a car where I’m no better or no worse than anyone. If the race comes your way with strategy and track position, you have your shot. I’ll take it as it comes. Really grateful to be here.”