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Rossi ready for the challenge of starting on the last row

Alexander Rossi Indy 500

Alexander Rossi during practice for the Indy 500. Photo: IndyCar

Chris Jones

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi entered qualifying for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 as a threat to make the Fast Nine Pole Shootout.

Although he just missed out on the Top 9 after Saturday qualifying, he still looked like a strong bet to qualify on the inside of Row 4 in tenth on Sunday.

But, after a decent Lap 1 at 227.454 mph, the handling on Rossi’s No. 98 Napa Auto Parts Honda took a nose dive - his next laps were 226.608 mph, 224.152 mph, and 221.619 mph.

At the end of four laps, his average was 224.935 mph, only good enough for 32nd, the middle of the last row.

Although disappointed, Rossi explained that he and the team will now have to embrace the challenge of starting on the last row.

“We’ll look into (what went wrong), but that’s what makes this place what it is. We saw yesterday there are a lot of curveballs that are unexpected around here. Starting this far back is a new challenge and a new opportunity to show what we can do. I have a lot of experienced people around me who have had a lot of starts here - some at the front, some at the back, so I’ll lean on them and we’ll go forward from there.”