The Indy 500 has all sorts of unique rules. The qualifying format we recently reported on is one of them, and so is the driver replacement rule. The regulations state that a team may replace a driver who qualified for the race with one who didn't, resulting in the revised entry moving to the back of the grid. And that's exactly what's happened with AJ Foyt Enterprises driver Bruno Junqueira and Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay (pictured above practicing last weekend at Indy).
The winner of multiple Champ Car races during the series' split and a former International Formula 3000 champion, Junqueira qualified in 19th place on the grid for this year's landmark running of the Indianapolis 500. Hunter-Reay, however, did not. The American driver initially landed a place on the grid, only to be bumped off by his team-mates Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti as well as Paul Tracy, Ryan Briscoe and others. But an historic agreement between longtime rivals Foyt and Andretti will see Hunter-Reay take Junqueira's place on the grid in a joint entry between the two teams that will feature a combination of sponsors on the car's livery.
This isn't the first time Junqueira has been replaced after qualifying for the Indy 500. A similar move in 2009 at Conquest Racing saw the Brazilian driver step aside in favor of Alex Tagliani, the Canadian driver who this year took pole position.
Meanwhile, Hunter-Reay, if you can believe it, stands as the only American to win an IndyCar race since 2008. That year Graham Rahal won in St. Petersburg, Florida, Danica Patrick won at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan and Hunter-Reay won at Watkins Glen. Since then it's been all foreigners – such as Britain's Dario Franchitti and Mike Conway, Australia's Will Power and Ryan Briscoe, and Brazil's Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan – with the exception of Hunter-Reay's win at Long Beach last year.