Day 1, Indy 500 quals: Spencer Pigot fastest; Alonso, Hinchcliffe outside

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It was a wild Saturday afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with long-shot entries locking themselves into the field while fan favorites Fernando Alonso and James Hinchcliffe remain in danger of being bumped.

Spencer Pigot set the fastest lap of the day with a four-lap average of 230.083 mph that puts him on the provisional pole going into Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout. However, rain is forecast for tomorrow.

Should qualifying go on as planned, Pigot will join Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter, Alexander Rossi and Sebastien Bourdais in the session to set the first three rows of the Indianapolis 500 starting grid.

However, INDYCAR officials have stated that finalizing the 33-car starting grid will take priority over Fast Nine qualifying, meaning Pigot’s fast four laps on Saturday may have been the run for the pole.

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch, full daily schedules

Sunday’s Last Row Shootout will feature two notable names who were not expected to be in trouble when Indianapolis 500 practice began on Tuesday.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso, who led 27 laps in his debut Indy 500 in 2017, has been slow all week, and spent Sunday afternoon making five qualifying attempts to try and post a fast enough average to lock his No. 66 McLaren Racing entry into the field.

Alonso did make it into the top 30 with his fifth and final attempt, but JR Hildebrand bumped him with minutes remaining in Day 1, when he made a four-lap average run of 227.908 mph (qualified 21st).

James Hinchcliffe is also facing a tense Sunday as he tries to avoid missing the Indy 500 for the second straight year. After wrecking his primary car earlier today, he was unable to get his backup car into the field.

Sage Karam, Patricio O’Ward, Max Chilton and Kyle Kaiser are also on the outside looking in.

Click here for full day 1 qualification results. 

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Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III