The final row of the Indianapolis 500 starting grid has been set and will consist of Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe, and Kyle Kaiser. They will start next Sunday’s race in 31st, 32nd and 33rd starting positions, respectively.
The three drivers posted the fastest four-lap average speeds of the six drivers who made their final attempt to qualify for the 103rd running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Patricio O’Ward, Max Chilton, and two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will have to watch the race from the other side of the catchfence.
Alonso, who had been slow all week, looked to be locked into the 33rd and final starting position after Chilton and O’Ward were not fast enough to make the field. But Kaiser, the final driver to make a qualifying attempt in the Last Row Shootout, set a four-lap average speed of 227.372 mph – just enough to take the final starting position away from Alonso and McLaren.
The motorsports world was left in utter shock. Juncos Racing, a small, part-time entry from Speedway Indiana that lost their sponsor and suffered a practice crash during the week, took down McLaren Racing, a team that has won eight Formula One Constructors’s Championships and 12 Driver’s Championships.
“I don’t think I can wrap my mind around what we just did,” Kaiser told NBC Sports after bumping Alonso from the field. “This all the credit to the team. They’ve been working non-stop trying to get this car ready for us and they did everything we that we needed to get into this field.”
Coverage of the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 begins next Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, then moves over to NBC at 11:00 a.m. ET.