The field for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 was set on Sunday, and it won’t include two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, driving for McLaren Racing, was bumped out of the field on the final run in the Last Row Shootout, courtesy of Kyle Kaiser and his Juncos Racing machine.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 19, 2019
Kaiser, driving for one of the smallest teams on the grid, laid down a four-lap average of 227.372 mph to put his sponsor-less Chevy in the field, knocking out Alonso and global powerhouse McLaren in the process.
James Hinchcliffe also narrowly avoided missing out on the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ for the second straight year, qualifying 32nd with a speed of 227.543 mph. Sage Karam was the quickest of the last-chance qualifiers and will start on the inside of Row 11, driving in a one-off appearance with Dryer and Reinbold Racing.
Carlin Racing’s Max Chilton and Pato O’Ward also failed to make the field, bringing their months of May to disappointing ends.
But Alonso’s shocking ouster at the back of the field wasn’t the only surprise of the day.
Simon Pagenaud, continuing his May turnaround, took home his first Indianapolis 500 pole with a speed of 229.992 mph.
What a moment for @SimonPagenaud!
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) May 19, 2019
While rain had at one point put the Firestone Fast Nine in doubt — cancelling two of the scheduled practice sessions for the day — Saturday’s quickest qualifiers were able to get out on track on Sunday evening to fight for the pole.
The Frenchman beat out three-time pole winner Ed Carpenter, who will start in the middle of the front row, and Saturday’s quickest qualifier, Spencer Pigot, who will line up outside his teammate and boss at Ed Carpenter Racing.
ECR’s third driver, Ed Jones, will take the green flag just behind his teammates, putting up the fourth-quickest speed of the afternoon, just ahead of Colton Herta and Will Power, who will make up the rest of the second row.
Sebastian Bourdais, Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi will round out the front of the field next weekend, qualifying seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
Positions 10 through 30 were locked into the field at the conclusion of Saturday’s qualifying.
Next: The second-to-last practice for this year’s race begins at 12 p.m. ET on Monday. The session will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar Pass.