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The man who wasn't there...


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#1 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 23:04

On the Where Are They Now thread, there has been a small flurry of queries of what constitutes a qualifying attempt & what doesn't.
For Formula 1 etc., it's quite fixed - if they didn't enter an official qualifying session, they're not in... and Karl Oppitzhauser has now been removed from the database (and soon from the site).

I said in that thread that I would look at the Indianapolis 500 guys & gauge if any of them fell into the same bracket. I am still checking the status of 40 odd "DNQ's", most of whom I believe did try a qualifying attempt.

There are a few who I will need to remove (more below).

HOWEVER...
My main question is, does a rookie test, completed or not, count as a genuine qualification attempt, or is it akin to a practice attempt? I used to think that if they competed in a rookie test, then the intent to qualify was there.
But it's not the intent that I can go on so much, it's the practicality. So I'm asking for feedback or debate or whether or not I can count those who only did a rookie test, completed or not, as genuine Did Not Qualifier's, or whether they fall under the same line as "well, they were there, had a brief go, but it wasn't a real attempt". A list is below as well

Anyway, the ones about to be removed (unless anyone knows differently...)

Did Not Arrive
Ottis Stine (1952) - will need to double check this though as I've got - DNS, too slow in my records, which seems to indicate a qualification attempt.

Driver Rejected/Entry Declined
Orville Smith - so he's off the list.
Herb Hill, Steve Ball & Henry Pens.... so I don't have to worry about Herb Hill any more, but it's a shame to lose Ball & Pens.

Driver Ill
Ab Jenkins

Entered but someone else drove car
H.J. Skelly, Julius Slade (so both go)

Where I also have to check the following for more precise details:
Refused Permission - Erik Delling. Not sure if that's to practice or to race.
Withdrew - Arthur Gibbons, F.L. Adams, Sterling Price, Max McVey

Finally I have quite severe doubts that Frank Beardsley was an Indy qualifier as opposed to an entrant.

It would be good to solve this all & refresh & update the website so it's uniform all the way through.

ROOKIE TEST'S:

Did Not Finish/Crashed or failed their Rookie Test
Kevin Whitesides, Byron Horne, Wally Campbell, Marvin Burke, Skip Hudson, Roy Russing, Buddy Cagle, John Hubbard and most notably, Junior Johnson.

Passed Rookie Test but no apparent qualification attempt
Frank Beeder, Steve Bren, Don Horvath, Louis Unser (one I'd missed off)



So a couple of quite notable names there. Any advice would be welcome :wave:




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#2 RA Historian

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 23:49

I would think that there is a clear distinction between the rookie test and a qualifying attempt. I am not 'up' on the arcane nature of the Indy 500 rules and all its mysterious ins and outs, so my opinion here has a bit of conjecture. Be that as it may, it seems to me that to complete and pass a rookie test merely qualifies the driver as cleared to now participate in official practice sessions and to attempt a qualifying run. Hence, as I see it, a rookie test does not constitute an attempt to qualify.

A lot of semantics at play here, but it makes sense to me.. :well:

Tom

#3 ensign14

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:51

I agree with RA Historian. A rookie test at Indianapolis is a requirement before one gets to attempting the 500, in the same way that getting results in lower formulae is a requirement before one gets to attempting F1.

The problem though is when a rookie test in the month of May gets mixed up with official practice...it's easier with a case like Steve Barclay where it all went wrong in advance, but if someone's passing their test in May itself with a view to qualifying, on track with other non-rookie drivers, and then does not get a chance to qualify for whatever reason...

#4 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 07:42

I agree too. Can we not see a Rookie Test as what was Pre-qualification in F1 1990-ish? Only that a Rookie test when succesful qualifies you for life, and PQ was for the weekend only?

#5 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 07:57

Yeah, Ensign, it seems to blur a little bit at times. I would welcome more feedback & thanks for feedback so far, but I am more on the line of separating them at the moment and only DNQ being on there.
P.S. I've also noticed I need to add a few CART non-qualifiers too. Looks like it's going to be a busier update than I thought...

#6 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 08:43

May we introduce the term FRT?

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 08:55

May we introduce the term FRT?

Wouldn't cover those who passed their test but didn't take part in official qualifying :)


#8 ensign14

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:49

I agree too. Can we not see a Rookie Test as what was Pre-qualification in F1 1990-ish? Only that a Rookie test when succesful qualifies you for life, and PQ was for the weekend only?

Thing is, pre-qualification was actually a part of the meeting itself, rather than the means to an end a rookie test was. Plus it was really something to screw non-FOCA teams rather than determine who should race. A rookie test is more akin to the 300km or whatever it is testing that gives you the right to a superlicence if your results are rubbish. Not even the same status as a race weekend third driver...

#9 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 09:53

I suppose those cases are low in quantity and deserve a *) footnote? with explanation. Or we introduce PRTDNTPIQ? ;-)

#10 rateus

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 10:21

Can we not see a Rookie Test as what was Pre-qualification in F1 1990-ish? Only that a Rookie test when succesful qualifies you for life, and PQ was for the weekend only?


That's how I see Rookie Tests as well, and as far as I can see Richie includes DNPQs on his World Championship pages so for me the 'failed' rookies should be in. Note that USAC did refuse drivers outright on occasion (eg Amber Furst), so anyone who even began a Rookie Test had already cleared one hurdle, however small.

btw a successful Rookie Test was only valid for the current year, and only got upgraded for life if the driver actually made the race. Unsuccessful rookies would usually have to go through part or all of the test again the following year (at USAC's discretion) before being allowed to attempt qualifying - this was termed a 'refresher' rather than a 'rookie' test. Ralph Liguori had to do this 10 times, and the poor guy never did get to start a 500.

Naturally there were no hard-and-fast rules for this - USAC would occasionally waive the test completely for drivers with 'previous high-speed experience' (I think Mark Donohue was one), while previous starters who hadn't started the 500 for a few years might be called on to pass a 'refresher', such as Jack Brabham in the late 60s.

And, as noted, this was all happening during regular practice sessions, with other drivers on track as well - definitely sounds like 'part of the meeting' to me. The separate Rookie Orientation Program (prior to official practice) only began in 1981 or 2 - those who failed that might be more questionable for inclusion (I would, but that's my choice), but for me anyone who made it on track in the 'Month of May' deserves to be in.

#11 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 12:16

I do agree with Ensign though that Pre-Quallifying was part of the meeting, friday morning early. Gosh, I could still see the morning fog in the Motodrom.
But maybe the Indy500 meeting is not to be seen as a weekend, but as a month?

#12 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 13:33

Thing is, pre-qualification was actually a part of the meeting itself, rather than the means to an end a rookie test was. Plus it was really something to screw non-FOCA teams rather than determine who should race. A rookie test is more akin to the 300km or whatever it is testing that gives you the right to a superlicence if your results are rubbish. Not even the same status as a race weekend third driver...


Lately, that's the mindset I'm on. DNPQ's are included as it is part of the qualification procedure, but Londono etc didn't make my cut as they didn't start that process & that's where it gets tricky.

It seems to me that the rookie test, as said before, was an INTENT to qualify but it doesn't look like they then entered that next qualification stage. There's no doubt that those (say in Formula 1) that entered & practiced were also on the track at the same time as everyone else, but as they didn't make the qualification process, they're not in & I think this counts as a similiar stage....

Seems like I need to make a decision before long, but I think it's that the RT's are not there.

Oh, Arjan, I think the term for failing a rookie test should surely be FART?  ;) :lol:


#13 Lemnpiper

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 00:14



Mr Jenkins,

Since the rookie testing didnt start til the mid 1930's i was wondering if the changes you may do reflect the era post mid 1930's only ?

2nd question some years rain interfered with qualifying and rookie practice and would that have an influence on who makes the cut or not?.

3rd point If pictures surface of a guy in a car getting ready to go on the track does that help their cause if no other proof exists of an attempt?


I think if they got onto the track to at least practice to even attempt a rookie test they should be in. Also some cases may exist of someone who started out in a car only to fail to perform and be pulled in favor of another driver. But that's just my opinion .


The work you have done on that site is very remarkable and contains details on drivers 98 % of folks will never hear of outside old starting and finsihing results from theIndy 500 races. And as such you should be congradulated for doin it along with any outside help you got along the way.Perhaps one day all the drivers can be accounted for .




BTW one quick question .Was Jimmy Dunham the last known surviving riding mechanic that competed in the 500?



Thanks

paul

#14 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 13 September 2009 - 22:55

Mr Jenkins,

Since the rookie testing didnt start til the mid 1930's i was wondering if the changes you may do reflect the era post mid 1930's only ?

2nd question some years rain interfered with qualifying and rookie practice and would that have an influence on who makes the cut or not?.

3rd point If pictures surface of a guy in a car getting ready to go on the track does that help their cause if no other proof exists of an attempt?

I think if they got onto the track to at least practice to even attempt a rookie test they should be in. Also some cases may exist of someone who started out in a car only to fail to perform and be pulled in favor of another driver. But that's just my opinion .

The work you have done on that site is very remarkable and contains details on drivers 98 % of folks will never hear of outside old starting and finsihing results from theIndy 500 races. And as such you should be congradulated for doin it along with any outside help you got along the way.Perhaps one day all the drivers can be accounted for .

BTW one quick question .Was Jimmy Dunham the last known surviving riding mechanic that competed in the 500?

Thanks

Paul


Hi Paul & thanks for the kind words. Dunham, yes, as far as I know.

It's a tricky one which doesn't really sit well with me either way. I'm loathe to lose the likes of Cagle, Horvath, J Hubbard, Skip Hudson etc, but I think the issue is that I need to have the same rules all the way along, which it isn't, arguably, for Indy compared to F1.

I don't think we're ever going to agree a mutual decision on this all-round. For every case where it can be strongly argued that some of the above don't deserve a place, Byron Horne is always one that bothers me to take off, as he was severly injured in his rookie test attempt, which a lot of the papers at the time described as "practice for the Indianapolis 500". So, it's a bit tricky to take all of them off. It's one or the other, keep them on or take them off.

I will make a final decision when I do the update. At the moment, it's still inclining towards taking them off, but I'll probably mull over it & go from there.

As it happens, although up to 16 may end up going, up to 22 may come in, so it's swings & roundabouts re. work/people on there etc.

Thanks for the opinion though, I appreciate it. :up:

#15 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 21:54

I've made my decision (so will probably change it tomorrow) :) as I need to get on with the next update & need to decide what to do & better to have it clear.

I'm dropping those who did not make a qualifying attempt, so rookie test only-drivers are out.

I've decided this on the basis that;
1) I need to have the same set of rules, as much as I can, across the board. As a Did not Attempt Qualifying but Practiced doesn't count in F1, then it shouldn't for Indy, no matter how skewed it can get.

2) RT's earn you the right to qualify, but doesn't really constitute a qualification attempt. Likewise, let's say, for example Sebastien Loeb appears at Abu Dhabi. He's given a superlicence. It's a disaster in practice & Loeb says no. Alguersuari steps in. Loeb then got the right to qualify, but then didn't partake in it. That's really how I see it. (Though I know it's not as cut & dry as that)

I reserve the right to bring them back one day, and maybe expand it further altogether, but with some regret, I've removed them so I can concentrate on those that DID (or didn't) qualify. Ironically, this now means more people than before! :lol:

Thanks for people's feedback & I appreciate any future thinkings....

Edited by Richie Jenkins, 14 September 2009 - 21:55.


#16 ensign14

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 22:02

1) I need to have the same set of rules, as much as I can, across the board. As a Did not Attempt Qualifying but Practiced doesn't count in F1, then it shouldn't for Indy, no matter how skewed it can get.

Hmm. Not so sure about this one, because in F1 anyone who practises IS attempting to qualify, every lap of theirs is timed. Except in untimed sessions, but even then they are part of the meeting; you can get disqualified for something from an untimed session after all. But in a Grand Prix qualifying for a driver used to last for three hours, for an Indy driver the actual time they could spend on track qualifying was less than 15 minutes. A bit unfair on those who ploughed away in search of speed and who didn't do a Phil Caliva in setting a grotesque time for the sake of it.

I would consider practising at Indy roughly equivalent of an untimed session; part of the meeting, part of sorting yourself out to qualify. Otherwise it gets a bit convoluted; how about all those runners in whichever year it was (1974?) who practised, got into line for qualifying, and then never got to make an attempt because the weather went mental? A chrono-meteorological fluke determining the contents of a list...

I would draw the line between rookie test and practice at Indy on the basis that you can't practice without the rookie test. If there's a further distinction it's those who did their test before May and those who did it at the Speedway, but then again you've got chronology determining a place. Especially bad as those who are organized enough to get their tests in early would normally be expected to be better than those who only just snagged a drive at the last.

#17 stevewf1

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 22:40

My main question is, does a rookie test, completed or not, count as a genuine qualification attempt, or is it akin to a practice attempt?


No, I wouldn't classify a rookie test (they call it rookie orientation these days) as any attempt at qualifying or even practice. As I understand it, these are separate sessions for brand-new competitors or drivers who haven't competed for awhile.

Once a driver gets through the orientation (test), only then can they progress to practice and then on to qualifying.

Usually, the rookie orientation is run before the track even opens for "the Month of May"...


#18 Andretti Fan

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 04:24

I agree with Steve. The 'rookie test' is seperate from any official practice, even if it does take place during the month of May.

#19 stevewf1

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 05:39

With the IRL's "condensed" Month of May these days, the rookie orientation takes place just before the track officially opens the first week. It wasn't always so. But it has always been a separate session held just for that purpose.

Every new driver has to go through it, but I'm thinking that there have been rare exceptions. Mansell in 1993 and Montoya in 2000 were exempted, I think.



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#20 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 00:27

With the IRL's "condensed" Month of May these days, the rookie orientation takes place just before the track officially opens the first week. It wasn't always so. But it has always been a separate session held just for that purpose.

Every new driver has to go through it, but I'm thinking that there have been rare exceptions. Mansell in 1993 and Montoya in 2000 were exempted, I think.


Yes Mansell was deemed to have 'previous high-speed experience'.

#21 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 00:31

Hmm. Not so sure about this one, because in F1 anyone who practises IS attempting to qualify, every lap of theirs is timed. Except in untimed sessions, but even then they are part of the meeting; you can get disqualified for something from an untimed session after all.


How do we categorize the 'test drivers' taking part in the friday practice sessions, some years back?
They ran with 30-something car numbers.


#22 Richard Jenkins

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 18:30

How do we categorize the 'test drivers' taking part in the friday practice sessions, some years back?
They ran with 30-something car numbers.


Good point - I don't know how most people categorise them, but I don't include them. I know FORIX include them in their "presences" but not in "Non-qualified". I guess entered.


By the way, of the above list, I'm two-thirds through it & Cagle & Hubbard at the very least, were definitely in that final qualifying section, the historic papers have proved as such.

#23 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 18:48

Dare I suggest just adding in everyone who made a start in a AAA/USAC Championship race? Despite the extra work, it certainly separates out the wanna-bes from the real deals.

(covers head and ducks)

#24 ensign14

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 18:50

Do we include the likes of Duke Cook? 1981 Pocono 500... :D