Pagenaud captures Indy 500 pole; Alonso ousted in Last Row Shootout
INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday, May 19, 2019) – Simon Pagenaud continued on his roll this May, winning the pole position for the upcoming 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, however, will be a spectator for the May 26 race after failing to successfully qualify.
In a drama-filled Sunday afternoon that featured separate qualifying sessions to fill opposite ends of the 33-car starting grid, Pagenaud completed a four-lap Fast Nine Shootout qualification run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway superspeedway at 229.992 mph to earn the NTT P1 Award, the 11th pole position of his 11-year Indy car career and first at the Indy 500.
Meanwhile, Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Kyle Kaiser drove their way into the field with the best qualifying efforts in the Last Row Shootout, with Alonso among those whose runs came up short on speed.
Pagenaud delivered the 18th Indianapolis 500 pole position for Team Penske, extending the benchmark NTT IndyCar Series program’s record that stands at 13 more than any other team. In addition, Pagenaud became the first Frenchman in a century to capture the Indy 500 pole, since Rene Thomas in 1919.
“Team Menards and Team Penske have been phenomenal about giving me the best equipment,” said Pagenaud, who turned 35 on Saturday. “I can’t thank them enough and my teammates for always pushing me to the limit. This is incredible. This is the biggest race in the world, so obviously I’m on Cloud Nine.”
Pagenaud is the hottest driver in the NTT IndyCar Series, fresh off a May 11 win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road course. Driving the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet on the oval on Sunday, he outperformed a trio of Ed Carpenter Racing drivers who qualified second through fourth.
Pagenaud edged out Ed Carpenter, who qualified the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet at 229.889 mph and narrowly missed winning the Indy 500 pole for a fourth time. Spencer Pigot, fastest in first-day qualifying on Saturday, ranked a career-best third Sunday in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet at 229.826 mph. Ed Jones was fourth in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet at 229.646 mph.
“I was hoping one of the three of us was going to get the pole, but finishing 2-3-4 is the next best thing,” team owner/driver Carpenter said. “I’m really proud of the whole team to give us the cars we had, which put us in the position to go out and qualify the way that we did.”
Rookie Colton Herta repeated his stellar effort from Saturday, qualifying fifth on Sunday at 229.086 mph in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, rounded out the second row by qualifying sixth in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet (228.645 mph).
Sebastien Bourdais posted the seventh-best run in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda (228.621 mph), ahead of NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet (228.396 mph) and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda (228.247 mph).
Pagenaud will lead the closest field in Indianapolis 500 history to the green flag. The time separating Pagenaud’s four-lap qualifying attempt and that of slowest qualifier Pippa Mann was 1.8932 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 2.1509 seconds in 2014. The 228.240 mph speed average of the 33 qualifiers is fourth fastest in Indianapolis 500 history.
Rain delayed the start of Sunday’s two qualifying sessions more than four hours. The Last Row Shootout to decide the final three drivers in the field preceded the Fast Nine Shootout, and it ended with Alonso and McLaren Racing on the outside looking in. Returning to the Indy 500 for a second time in a bid to win the last leg of racing’s Triple Crown, Alonso was knocked from the field when Kaiser posted a four-lap qualifying run 0.019 of a mph faster.
Six drivers vied for the last three positions in the field. Alonso, the third to try, completed his run at 227.353 mph in the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet. It placed the Spaniard second to Hinchcliffe at the time.
Karam qualified at 227.740 mph in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet, dropping Alonso onto the bubble as the 33rd qualifier. In a backup car cobbled together by his Juncos Racing crew after Kaiser crashed the primary No. 32 Chevrolet in Friday practice, Kaiser ran four laps at 227.372 mph to take the last spot away from Alonso.
“Obviously, it would be nice to be in the race next Sunday,” Alonso said. “We came here to race and to challenge ourselves, and we were not quick enough. I congratulate all the other guys that did a better job, and hopefully we’ll see a nice show next Sunday.
“We are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time. But it’s that kind of things that you learn. I said before, I prefer to be here – even 34th – than being at home like last year.”
Kaiser called the days since his crash “the most emotional 48 hours of my life.” The 2017 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion qualified for his second Indianapolis 500 with the small-budget Juncos team.
“I don’t think I can wrap my mind around what we just did,” Kaiser said. “Like I keep saying, all the credit to the team. They’ve been working nonstop trying to get this car ready for us and they did everything we needed to get us in this field. I’m so proud of them, so proud of everybody that helped make this happen.”
The field of 33 has a two-hour practice scheduled for noon ET Monday that streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. The final practice, held traditionally on Miller Lite Carb Day, has been expanded to 90 minutes starting at 11 a.m. Friday and will be televised on NBCSN.
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.
‘What They’re Saying’ from Indianapolis 500 Day 2 qualifying
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet): “Well, I’m glad we got to run today. I really wanted to because I thought that would be a great opportunity. I’m super pumped for Team Penske, winning the pole with Simon (Pagenaud) is great. I’m not sure what happened with the No. 2 car, but we just lost speed. It was still great to get a run and I can’t wait to get the Shell V-Power Chevrolet into race conditions. I have all the faith in everybody that we are going to have a great race car. I’m excited for next weekend and now we will focus on that.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Indy, she likes a dramatic day, huh? It’s crazy how it played out. I’m obviously thrilled for the team and all our partners, Honda, Arrow, everybody. I know a year ago I was watching everybody else go out for fast nine, and we weren’t in the show and it sucks. I feel bad for those guys. We’ve got to get back to work tomorrow. We’ve had a really strong car in race trim, so I’m bummed that I wrecked that one, but hopefully it all translates well to the new car and we get back to group running. We’ve got a good rocket ship on our hands. It was deja vu all over again. I told Sam (Schmidt, team owner) before we went out that we are going to try to not do this next year, try not to have it be so dramatic. Again, I just can’t thank everyone at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Honda enough. It’s great that all the Hondas got in; that’s obviously a big plus for us as a group. So now it’s just whatever happened, happened and we have to put our eyes forward.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet): “No clue what happened to our speed today. It was easy to drive, but it was slow. I really could not tell you why. It’s unfortunate because we were so close to the top speed yesterday. We’ll study our data pretty hard tonight to see where the speed went. The Verizon 5G Chevrolet was amazing to drive, so much so that I was really dumbfounded when I heard what the times were. Starting sixth is not bad, but I really want a pole here. It’s coming, man. It took a few years to win the race, so it may take a few years to win the pole.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “It was a pretty solid run in the No. 18 SealMaster car. The higher you start, the better it is. We should’ve been a little faster if I had downshifted like I was supposed to, but not a huge deal. We knew with the weather conditions that it was going to be a little tricky to extract more out of the car because the air was denser. At the end of the day, the goal was to get the car in and not make any mistakes. We did that, so at least I feel at peace with myself compared to yesterday. We’ll just try and execute in the race and have a solid day next Sunday”.
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet): “I was hoping one of the three of us was going to get the pole, but finishing 2-3-4 is the next best thing. I’m really proud of the whole team to give us the cars we had, which put us in the position to go out and qualify the way that we did. I’ve said every year, the poles are a credit to the team and their work in the offseason in building the cars. More than anything, the consistency to have all three cars stacked together is special compared to how the other teams are more spread out. Huge thank you to Chevrolet, Preferred Freezer Services, Lineage, SMC, Direct Supply, Autogeek, WeatherTech and Scuderia Corsa with special thanks to Giacomo (Mattioli). It’s been a good month, and hopefully, we can have another couple days of practice to fine-tune the race setup and do what we came here to do – win the Indy 500.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “Yeah, it’s sweet. Starting front row in the Indy 500 is a real honor, and like Ed (Carpenter, team owner) said, a testament to our team. I wouldn’t say I was doing the rain dance all day. I think as race car drivers we love driving Indy cars at the limit and you definitely get a chance to do that here in qualifying. Any chance we get to put four laps of qualifying together here is exciting in the car. So, unfortunately, it was a little short, but like Ed said, great day for the team. (We’re starting) 2, 3, 4, and I think all of us were pretty happy with our race cars Wednesday and Thursday, so we have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be confident about heading into next weekend.”
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Obviously, it’s my whole team behind me that prepared me to here. It’s a team effort, but obviously, super happy for France. I think this sport is a sport that I know France would really enjoy, and they do, so this can only help gain the recognition over there and in Europe. So obviously, also having (Fernando) Alonso here was great for that. But it’s a team effort. I can’t take this for myself. This is truly what Team Penske does, and they give us the best equipment. Quite frankly, I’m at the very, very end of it all, so I’m just very honored to drive this No. 22 Menards Chevy, which honestly, was incredible today.”
ROGER PENSKE (Owner, Team Penske): “I think when you look at Simon’s (Pagenaud) run today, it was amazing to see the consistency over 230 mph, which looked like (Rick) Mears was qualifying there back in the old days. But I just want to congratulate him in front of all of you. We had four good cars. He was strong all month, and I think when we had to execute, there was certainly one guy that was going to get on the pole, and that was Simon. All month they’ve been on the ball, and of course, the momentum coming off the road course win, you’ve got to think about that, too. A combined couple of weeks here has been terrific. Now we have to go on and get the big one.”
SAGE KARAM (No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet): “We haven’t had a lot of good days this week. And the team has stuck with me and they have picked me up when I was down. And vice versa. I had a wrestling coach tell me that it doesn’t matter who you are wrestling, the rank, the bracket or anything. It’s all about whose better in those six minutes at that time. We didn’t have it yesterday. But I knew that we just needed to be better than the guys who we were up against today for four laps. I feel like I won the race and I just qualified for it. I was so happy to get this thing in today. I didn’t want to go another sleepless night and be thinking about it. You look at the guys in the last chance six now. There were big names and big teams. We’re a strong one-off race team. And we knew it was not going to be an easy task. I wish I could have run those four laps yesterday. We would be well up the field. But that how Indy works. There are so many doubts at this place. When you can do something special, it really feels great. I had some doubts in the last couple of days. But today really shows that the DRR WIX Filters team has produced when things are on the line. Now, we’ll continue our race setup program on Monday. The race setup is very good. I am confident for next Sunday.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “Our run was great. There are things out of our control right now that are preventing us from going fast here at Indy that need to be addressed. We will deal with them this week. At the end of the day, I don’t think we had anything for the Chevys. We didn’t end up the fastest Honda, which was our goal and I think it is something that the whole No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda boys earned. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, it is 500 miles and we need to focus on building a good race car. There were much more dramatic things that happened today than us not qualifying fifth or sixth. We are grateful for that and happy to be in the show.”
KYLE KAISER (No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “It felt like we qualified on pole when I came in, to be honest. It was pretty wild. I didn’t really know right away. Everybody keeps asking, when did you know. I had no idea. I had somewhat of an idea because I got to see the laps, but I heard it was really close. And I came across start finish and first thing I asked was are we in, did we make it, and I just heard screaming, so that was a good sign. But the last 48 hours, like Sage (Karam) said, has been an absolute whirlwind. It’s been crazy. We had really good pace with our main car, but obviously we had an incident, and it’s been just an uphill battle since then. I have to give the team pretty much all the credit here because they’ve been working super long nights. I think they had 40 straight hours of work trying to get that car together, getting us ready to practice the next day at 8:00 a.m., just an unbelievable effort. Obviously, the backup car didn’t have the same pace as our main car, but we didn’t give up. This was just an amazing battle from their end, just looking for every little thing we could do, no matter what it was, sanding the car, just changing pieces, just doing everything possible to try and get the speed out of it, and even yesterday when I don’t think we had a perfect first run, the balance wasn’t quite what we were hoping, it was very difficult conditions, we rallied, we got the balance right later in the day with our other two runs even though the speed wasn’t there, which I think paid off today. We felt like we didn’t need to go out this morning. We had the balance where we wanted it, we got the data we needed yesterday and kind of stuck with our guns, and it really paid off.”
ED JONES (No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “It was a good day. I qualified fourth for the Indianapolis 500. It’s great for myself, Scuderia Corsa and Ed Carpenter Racing. Having three cars at the front is really positive. Of course, you always want to be on pole, but regardless, it’s great to be up front. It will give us a great chance for the win next Sunday and that’s what it’s all about.”
FERNANDO ALONSO (No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet): “Well, I didn’t spend much time with the team yet. I’ve been only in my motorhome and talking with friends or family and following the Fast Nine Shootout. Once you are not anymore in, you try to start relaxing a little bit. It has been a very long qualifying, nearly 56 hours of qualifying from yesterday morning. Yesterday, we were 31st instead of 30th. Today, 34th instead of 33rd by a very small margin, and unfortunately, not fast enough in any or both days. I’m disappointed now. Obviously, it would be nice to be in the race next Sunday. We came here to race and to challenge ourselves and we were not quick enough. I congratulate all the other guys that did a better job, and hopefully, we’ll see a nice show next Sunday, with everyone safe. I will be enjoying from the TV, unfortunately.”
COLTON HERTA (No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda): “Another great day for the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda. I think that was our max like yesterday. We said we’d be happy with fifth place because we didn’t think we had enough for the four guys in front of us. Everyone is just so competitive and quick, but you can win from anywhere here. It didn’t matter if we started fifth or 25th, I was going to be happy. either way. The guys have been working so well together and we’ve made it in the show really nicely. So I’m really excited to see what happens next.”
The 2019 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 Line-up
QP Car Driver Hometown Car Name Entrant Engine Total Time Avg. Speed
|1 22 Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Menards Team Penske Team Penske Chevrolet 02:36.5271 229.992|
|2 20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis, Indiana Preferred Freezer Services Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 02:36.5971 229.889|
|3 21 Spencer Pigot Orlando, Florida Ed Carpenter Racing Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 02:36.6402 229.826|
|4 63 Ed Jones Dubai, United Arab Emirates Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 02:36.7629 229.646|
|5 88 Colton Herta (R) Valencia, California Harding Steinbrenner Racing Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda 02:37.1465 229.086|
|6 12 Will Power (W) Toowoomba, Australia Verizon 5G Team Penske Team Penske Chevrolet 02:37.4490 228.645|
|7 18 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Sealmaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda 02:37.4659 228.621|
|8 2 Josef Newgarden Nashville, Tennessee Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Team Penske Chevrolet 02:37.6208 228.396|
|9 27 Alexander Rossi (W) Nevada City, California NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda 02:37.7240 228.247|
|10 98 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pennsylvania U.S. Concrete / Curb Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda 02:37.3729 228.756|
|11 25 Conor Daly Noblesville, Indiana United States Air Force Andretti Autosport Honda 02:37.4688 228.617|
|12 3 Helio Castroneves (W) Sao Paulo, Brazil Pennzoil Team Penske Team Penske Chevrolet 02:37.5337 228.523|
|13 7 Marcus Ericsson (R) Kumla, Sweden Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 02:37.5415 228.511|
|14 30 Takuma Sato (W) Tokyo, Japan Mi-Jack / Panasonic Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 02:37.6874 228.300|
|15 33 James Davison Melbourne, Australia Dale Coyne with Byrd and Belardi Dale Coyne Racing with Byrd and Belardi Honda 02:37.7057 228.273|
|16 14 Tony Kanaan (W) Salvador, Brazil ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 02:37.8116 228.120|
|17 15 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio United Rentals Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 02:37.8226 228.104|
|18 9 Scott Dixon (W) Auckland, New Zealand PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 02:37.8256 228.100|
|19 77 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain MotoGator Team Stange w/ Arrow SPM MotoGator Team Stange w/ Arrow SPM Honda 02:37.9009 227.991|
|20 23 Charlie Kimball Camarillo, California Fiasp Carlin Carlin Chevrolet 02:37.9535 227.915|
|21 48 JR Hildebrand Sausalito, California DRR Salesforce Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 02:37.9584 227.908|
|22 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay (W) Fort Lauderdale, Florida DHL Andretti Autosport Honda 02:37.9799 227.877|
|23 19 Santino Ferrucci (R) Woodbury, Connecticut Cly-Del Manufacturing Dale Coyne Racing Honda 02:38.0815 227.731|
|24 4 Matheus Leist Novo Hamburgo, Brazil ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 02:38.0911 227.717|
|25 60 Jack Harvey Bassingham, England AutoNation/SiriusXM Meyer Shank Racing Honda 02:38.1063 227.695|
|26 42 Jordan King (R) Warwick, England Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 02:38.2402 227.502|
|27 81 Ben Hanley (R) Manchester, England 10 Star DragonSpeed DragonSpeed Chevrolet 02:38.2542 227.482|
|28 26 Zach Veach Stockdale, Ohio Gainbridge Andretti Autosport Honda 02:38.3523 227.341|
|29 10 Felix Rosenqvist (R) Värnamo, Sweden NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 02:38.3834 227.297|
|30 39 Pippa Mann Ipswich, England Driven2SaveLives Clauson-Marshall Racing Chevrolet 02:38.4203 227.244|
|31 24 Sage Karam Nazareth, Pennsylvania DRR WIX Filters Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 02:38.0747 227.740|
|32 5 James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 02:38.2118 227.543|
|33 32 Kyle Kaiser Santa Clara, California Juncos Racing Juncos Racing Chevrolet 02:38.3311 227.372|
Issued: May 19, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Legend: R – Indianapolis 500 Rookie. W – Indianapolis 500 winner. All cars use 2019 NTT IndyCar Series car (IR-12) and Firestone tires
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of INDYCAR