INDIANAPOLIS – David beat Goliath on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kyle Kaiser, driving for the upstart Juncos Racing team, bumped his way into the Indianapolis 500 at the expense of two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso and McLaren during the Last Row Shootout.
Also failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 alongside Alonso were a pair of cars fielded by Carlin for Pato O’Ward and Max Chilton.
Alonso and McLaren struggled all week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after Alonso crashed during practice on Wednesday. He made five qualifying attempts Saturday, but none of his attempts were fast enough to get him in the field and that forced him to qualify through the Last Row Shootout Sunday.
The third driver to take to the track, Alonso was able to manage a four-lap average of 227.353 mph. It was his best speed of the week, but it would not be enough.
Kaiser, who also crashed during Indianapolis 500 practice Friday, drove his backup car to a four-lap average speed of 227.372 mph during the Last Row Shootout. He was the last car to make a qualifying attempt during the Last Row Shootout.
“I don’t think I can wrap my mind around what we just did,” Kaiser said. “Like I keep saying, this is all a credit to the team. They’ve been working non-stop trying to get this car ready and they did everything that we needed to get us in this field.”
Also locking themselves into the Indianapolis 500 field were Sage Karam and James Hinchcliffe. Karam was the fastest of the three, averaging 227.740 mph during his four-lap run and will start 31st next Sunday.
Hinchcliffe, who crashed during his first qualifying attempt Saturday and was forced to a backup car, will start 32nd thanks to a four-lap average speed of 227.543 mph.
Kaiser will start 33rd, last in the field, but he doesn’t care. He’s in the Indianapolis 500.
“I’m so proud of everybody that helped make this happen,” Kaiser said.