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Pigot fastest early in Indy 500 qualifying as Alonso struggles


John D Cote

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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