Fernando Alonso fails to qualify for Indy 500

Tanya Simon
May 20, 2019

When the dust settled, Kaiser joined James Hinchcliffe and Sage Karam in the field for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The Team Penske driver is coming off a victory in the IndyCar Grand Prix just two weeks ago.

He suffered a puncture on his first lap in Saturday qualifying, but briefly bumped his way into the field on Saturday, before getting bumped himself into the Last Row Showdown within the final five minutes of that day's session.

Simon Pagenaud captures pole position for next Sunday's Indy 500, edging three-time pole sitter Ed Carpenter on in the fast nine shootout at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kyle Kaiser, driving for the upstart Juncos Racing team, bumped his way into the Indianapolis 500 at the expense of two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso and McLaren during the Last Row Shootout.

"I think we didn't really have the speed so we are where we deserve to be and hopefully tomorrow we have another chance to be in the race".

"It was understeer on the vehicle", said Alonso, "and even if I lifted the throttle on the entry of the corner, it was not enough and I lost completely the front aero".

"All the credit to the team".

Ed Carpenter averaged 229.889 miles per hour and Spencer Pigot 229.826 miles per hour to fill up the front row Sunday. Ed Jones was fourth in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet at 229.646 miles per hour.

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"Because... even if we were qualifying today, we were not maybe in the right philosophy to race next Sunday".

The Indy 500 field is set, and it's the closest in the race's 103 year history, with just 1.8 seconds between P1 and P33.

But the Cinderella story belonged to Kaiser, the 33rd qualifier.

Alonso, swarmed by fans and media as he tried to watch Kaiser's qualifying lap, saw the final speed, hopped on a waiting golf cart and was driven away. Pagenaud won the pole, averaging 229.992 miles per hour in qualifying. "We came here to race and to challenge ourselves, and we were not quick enough". We tried our best and we've been fearless at times, but there were people doing better job than us.

"Obviously we are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time". But it's that kind of things that you learn. "Obviously last week was fantastic, but this is even more special". McLaren missed almost two days on track trying to ready a backup auto, which finally got out Friday.

"I'm so proud of everybody that helped make this happen", Kaiser said.

"When you look at Simon's run today it was wonderful to see the consistency over 230 (mph), which looked liked Mears (Rick) was qualifying out there back in the old day", Penske said.

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 airs live at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

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