Sage, Hinch and Kyle in... and Alonso is OUT!
So much for the snotty F1 set thinking they are superior. McLaren and Fernando Alonso were bumped out of the Indy 500 by the minnow IndyCar team Juncos and their young American Kyle Kaiser. Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Kyle Kaiser are all in the 2019 Indy 500.
Fernando Alonso, Pato O'Ward and Max Chilton are out of the race. MacLaren officials emphatically deny that they will buy a ride to put Alonso back into the race.
In the hours since the close of qualification attempts yesterday, Zak Brown opened the MacLaren checkbook (we presume) and got some setup help from Andretti Motorsports. Still, the qualification attempt fell short, and like the Carlin team mates Max Chilton and Pato O'Ward, won't start the Indy 500. This failure surprised few in the paddock -- rumors of a disorganized chaotic MacLaren effort were thick last weekend at the GP Indy.
The margin of failure for Alonso -- on Saturday, he missed the cut by 33/1000th of a second. Today, it was 13/1000th of a second. As they say... close, but no cigar.
In addition, while Chevy swept the tops spots later in the session, they also constituted all three of the cars that were bumped.
Chilton has reported a smooth, easy to drive car all month, but the thing just lacked speed. Both Alonso and Pato crashed their cars during the month, and never recovered. All three are Carlin efforts, and the lone bright spot for the month for Carlin is Charlie Kimball, who will start in the middle of the 7th row.
James Hinchcliffe posted a mid-9th row speed, with a calm no-drama effort to put his car into the field.
And on the last run of the shootout, Kyle Kaiser electrified the crowd with a run that put Alonso out of the field, and himself into the race. The team opted to avoid practice this morning, so no one knew what they had -- least of all, Kyle. Kyle was not, however, worried... "We did that last year. And we've had trouble with the engine overheating, and we didn't want to run it in practice." Kaiser was smiling from ear to ear... "I'm all over the place." As for the wounded engine -- the teams get a new motor for the race.
IndyCar now loses out on having Alonso in the Indy 500 and all the publicity around the F1 great unless Zak can buy out a ride -- and rumors are already circulating that this will happen. Which of course would be even worse publicity for IndyCar.
It probably also means McLaren will not run IndyCar full-time next year as the McLaren board will not be happy with the black-eye this gives the McLaren brand.
A great day for Karam, Hinchcliffe and Kaiser, a horrible day for IndyCar, McLaren and Alonso.
"A difficult week, no doubts," Alonso later wrote on Instagram.
"We tried our best, even today with a completely different set up and approach, 4 laps flat on the throttle but we were not fast enough.
"It's never easy to drive around here at 227mph +, and want more speed...
"We tried our best and we've been brave at times, but there were people doing better job than us.
"Success or disappointments only come if you accept big challenges. We accepted.
"Thanks to the massive support always here at the speedway and everyone at home. Now full focus on next target."
Bump Day Qualifiers
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