The Starting Grid has been set for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500. In a fierce competition for a starting position within the race, 3 drivers are going home after not being able to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in racing. Among those unable to qualify, was Max Chilton, Rookie Patricio O’ Ward, and two time F1 Champion Fernando Alonso with McLaren Racing.
Alonso caused a stir in past years within the IndyCar Series, as he qualified fifth for the 2017 Indy 500, but fell out of the race after his engine blew on lap 183. Alonso has recently had an interest with the Indianapolis 500, while on his quest to win the Triple Crown of Motorsports. The feat of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo, and the Indianapolis 500. Alonso has two of the three, and has been vying to be the second man in history to ever win the Triple Crown.
Each year the starting grid allows for only 33 drivers to run in the race, however this year 36 cars entered for qualifying.
The qualifying system this year was different from those in years’ past. Saturday of qualifying weekend locked in the starting positions of 10-30, and established the cars that would participate in the Fast Nine Shootout. While the cars running the 31-36 slowest times, would be allowed one more chance to qualify on Sunday, competing in the Last Row Shootout.
The results of qualifying on Sunday, resulted in Frenchman Simon Pagenaud of Penske Racing, sitting on the pole position. The first time in 100 years, a Frenchman has clenched the first starting position.
Pagenaud has been having a great month at the Speedway, winning the IndyCar Grand Prix on May 11, and now clenching the pole. This is leaving many fans wondering if he will be able to pull off what Will Power did last year, win both Indianapolis races, back to back.
Also starting in the front row are two Americans, in second position is race team owner/driver Ed Carpenter of Indianapolis, and third position Spencer Pigot of California. Ed Carpenter, the owner of Ed Carpenter Racing, has three cars in the race. All three, are starting consecutively in the positions of second, third, and fourth. Starting with owner Ed, driver Spencer Pigot, and driver Ed Jones.
The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 takes place on May 26, starting at noon (weather permitting).