Alonso undaunted by prospects of ninth-row Indy 500 start

Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

Alonso undaunted by prospects of ninth-row Indy 500 start


Alonso undaunted by prospects of ninth-row Indy 500 start


A top-15 qualifying draw was of little help to Arrow McLaren SP’s Fernando Alonso who, like most of the other Chevrolet runners, struggled to find pace on a torrid qualifying day at Indianapolis.

“The speed was not there yesterday in practice and today in qualifying,” said the Spaniard. “We know that so we just wanted to put in a solid run in for qualifying with no mistakes and execute the best we could. I think we achieved that, and I’m happy with that. The No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP car was feeling great today (and) I think we have a good race car because the first few days we were on the competitive side.

“The starting place for the race is not changing our hopes for next Sunday,” Alonso continued. “All our focus now is on the race. This place offers a lot of possibilities even for the people starting at the back, and we will be looking to take that possibility next week.”

Fernando will start 26th in the August 23 500-miler, his 228.768 mph qualifying average putting him behind both rookie teammates, Pato O’Ward (15th, 230.213 mph) and Oliver Askew (21st, 229.760 mph).

Askew, like Alonso, is optimistic about his chances in the race, though qualifying for him was more of an adventure than it seemed to be for the unruffled Spaniard.

“My first (Indy 500) qualifying was pretty exciting,” Askew explained. “(My) first run ended up being the quickest (and) it looks like we are stuck in 21st right now. Probably the most frightening four laps of my life, but that’s what Indy 500 qualifying is all about.

“Looking forward to putting the race setup back on because I feel like Arrow McLaren SP have a much more competitive package in race trim. Looking forward to the rest of the week.”