INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Spencer Pigot was the second driver to roll off from the pits on Saturday’s day one of Indianapolis 500 qualifying and took advantage of the low track temperatures, turning in the fastest four-lap qualifying session and securing a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout.
“I feel great,” said Pigot. “Obviously, it’s great to be on top of the speed charts and also to have all three of our Ed Carpenter Racing cars in the Fast Nine (Shootout) for the second year in a row. Just a testament to all the work everyone does in the shop throughout the offseason and leading into this race.”
After Pigot and his ECR teammates Ed Carpenter and Ed Jones, the Fast Nine will feature Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, and Sebastien Bourdais.
The biggest source of drama in last year’s bump day was James Hinchcliffe missing the cut. On Hinch’s first qualifying run Saturday, the ASPM driver lost control and hit the wall hard in turn two. The team went to work quickly, getting the backup car ready, as Hinch was able to get back on the track late in the day. Still, Hinch couldn’t get that car fast enough to avoid the Last Row Shootout, as he was 33rd fastest on the track.
“I don’t know what the ultimate gap was, but it was obviously pretty close,” said Hinchcliffe. “Huge credit to everybody at Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, it was a big effort from the whole team to get that car out there.
“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. Luckily, we’ve got a chance tomorrow.”
Fernando Alonso has that same chance. The McLaren driver has been searching for speed since a Wednesday practice crash. Alonso was 31st fastest on Saturday, one spot out of a guaranteed starting position in the race.
“It has been a difficult day, and it follows a difficult week,” Alonso said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t have the pace and the final time we posted wasn’t enough to be in the top 30, so we must try again tomorrow and we’ll need to execute the four laps as well as possible, clean and with no mistakes.”
The Last Row Shootout begins at 12:15 p.m. Sunday with the Fast Nine Shootout for the Indianapolis 500 pole following at 1:15 p.m.