James Hinchcliffe is confident his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team can find the extra speed he needs to make the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday after crashing and failing to secure a spot in the top 30 in qualifying.
Exiting Turn 2 on his first qualifying run, Hinchcliffe spun and hit the SAFER barrier hard, requiring a switch to his back-up car. SPM had already been preparing the spare in case of an accident and was able to get the No. 5 entry back out just over 2.5 hours after the crash, something that Hinchcliffe says was the result of some incredible teamwork from different crews.
“I don’t know what the ultimate gap was, but it was obviously pretty close,” Hinchcliffe said. “Huge credit to everybody at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, it was a big effort from the whole team to get that car out there. Everybody from the 7, 77, 60 [cars] — they jumped in and helped.
“It’s a road course car, so it doesn’t have all the extra love on it that the oval cars, the superspeedway cars have so we weren’t really sure what to expect. We came out, made some changes and found some speed, certainly. Obviously it wasn’t quite enough today.”
With Hinchcliffe finding speed with each run but eventually falling 000.288mph short of a place in the top 30 and a guaranteed slot, the 32-year-old is confident improvements can be found to ensure he secures a spot on the last row.
“Luckily we’ve got a chance tomorrow. I’ve got a lot of faith in the crew, everybody at Arrow, everybody at Honda, they’ve done great today to rebound from a pretty bad situation. We just have to put our heads together, find a little speed on it tomorrow and come out and put this thing in the show.”