John Cote / IndyCar

Pigot fastest early in Indy 500 qualifying as Alonso struggles

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Spencer Pigot was the fastest driver so far in Indianapolis 500 qualifying with a four-lap average speed of 230.083 mph with 27 of the entered 36 cars having made a qualifying run as of 1:40 p.m. ET.

Pigot joins Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter, Alexander Rossi, Sebastien Bourdais and Marco Andretti as the provisional Firestone Fast Nine.

The top nine qualifiers at the end of qualifying this afternoon will make a run for the pole position Sunday. Positions 10-30 on the race’s starting grid will be locked in this afternoon.

There is rain in the forecast for Sunday, and if the pole session is scrubbed, Pigot would be the pole-sitter.

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The bottom three cars in qualifying are currently the No. 81 DragonSpeed Chevrolet piloted by Ben Hanley, the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet of Fernando Alonso, and the No. 24 Chevy piloted by Sage Karam.

With Karam’s car hitting the wall on lap two of his qualifying attempt, the 24-year-old Dreyer & Reinbold driver made the decision to back off of the throttle during the remainder of his run. The team is expected to make another qualifying attempt later this afternoon.

That puts Fernando Alonso as the slowest driver so far to complete a proper qualifying attempt. However, Alonso’s car, which has been slow all week, punctured a tire during his run. If Alonso cannot pick up speed, he will be at serious risk of being bumped from the field tomorrow afternoon.

Positions 31-33 of the Indianapolis 500 starting grid will not be locked into the field this afternoon and all of the bottom six drivers at the end of the day will have to make at least one other attempt to qualify for the race tomorrow.

With only 33 starting positions in the race, the three slowest entries at the end of the day tomorrow will not make the 103rd running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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