Pigot on top, Alonso out for now …

Posted: May 19, 2019 in Uncategorized

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is almost out of chances to make this year’s field for the Indianapolis 500 – Photo credit: Dana Garrett/Indianapolis Motor Speedway

By Jeff Majekse — Managing Editor / SpeedwaySighitngs

INDIANAPOLIS – A young American driver known only to hardcore fans of the NTT IndyCar Series and one of the most famous drivers in the world highlighted a wild first day of qualifying for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Pigot, in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet, has the provisional pole after notching a four-lap average of 230.083 mph. While Pigot’s place in the field of 33 is secure, two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is in serious jeopardy of not making the race.

Despite five attempts, Alonso failed to post a speed fast enough to make the top 30 in the McLaren Racing Dallara/Chevrolet.

“It was a difficult day and a difficult week in general,” said Alonso, who crashed on Wednesday.

All hope is not lost for the Spaniard, though. Alonso and five other drivers, including James Hinchcliffe, will fight it out for the final three spots in the field.

Weather permitting, the pole, the first three rows (positions 1-9) and the last row (positions 31-33) will be decided in qualifying on Sunday. Thunderstorms are forecast, however.

If Sunday is a total washout, positions 1-30 are considered set. The last row will be contested on the next available day, with each car getting one attempt.

In addition to Alonso, the other participants in the Last Row Shootout are:

  • James Hinchcliffe, No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
  • Sage Karam, No. 24 Dreyer and Reinbold WIX Filters Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Patricio O’Ward, No. 31 Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Kyle Kaiser, No. 32 Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet

In addition to Pigot, the rest of the Fast Nine Shootout is:

  • Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Shell Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Colton Herta, No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Dallara/Honda
  • Ed Jones, No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Dallara/Chevrolet
  • Alexander Rossi, No. 27 Napa Auto Parts Dallara/Honda
  • Sebastien Bourdais, No. 18 SealMaster Dallara/Honda

“It feels great to be on top of the speed charts and to have all three Ed Carpenter Racing cars in the Fast Nine Shootout again for the second year in a row,” Pigot said.

Pippa Mann, who like Hinchcliffe missed last year’s race in gut-wrenching fashion, held on to the 30th and final starting position available Saturday with a 227.244 mph average.

“All that was going through my head was, ‘Not again. Not again,” Mann said.

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