INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Motor Speedway has targeted a 4:30pm ET start for the Last Row Shootout after rain postponed Indianapolis 500 qualifications by more than four hours Sunday.
The Last Row Shoot which will determine the final three spots in the field of 33, will be followed by the Fast Nine Shootout for the pole position in the May 26 race.
This morning’s warmup for the final qualifying sessions was cut short by rain after 20 minutes.
Rain began falling at around 10:30 a.m. but had stopped within the hour, and IMS officials had several jet dryers and pickup trucks on the track to dry the surface.
However, the rains returned during mid-day and led to further altering of on-track activities.
Five of the six cars vying for the final three spots in the May 26 race turned laps Sunday morning on the 2.5-mile oval.
James Hinchliffe, who crashed during qualifying Saturday, turned the fastest lap at 228.125 mph, followed by Sage Karam (228.083), Max Chilton (227.404), Pato O’Ward (225.746) and Fernando Alonso (220.009). Kyle Kaiser, the sixth driver still trying to secure a spot in the last row, didn’t record a speed as Jon Beekhuis reported on the NBC broadcast that the team elected to focus on preparing its car rather than practicing.
The misery continued for McLaren Racing and Alonso, who is trying to make his second Indy 500. On his first lap, the two-time Formula One champion’s No. 66 Dallara-Chevrolet was dragging the asphalt on the car’s left rear.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the team made dramatic changes to Alonso’s car overnight in hopes of finding the speed to qualify.
The Fast Nine Shootout cars were scheduled to hit the track for a 30-minute practice at 10:15 a.m., but with inclement weather looming, the Last Row Shootout cars (who had been scheduled for a 10:45 session) went out first because completing the field of 33 cars is the priority over the pole position.
IndyCar officials have said that the Last Row Shootout is guaranteed to happen regardless of the weather, meaning if Sunday were a washout, the Indy 500 field would be filled Monday morning (or the next available time that the track was ready).