Qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race began yesterday as teams lined pit lane to make their initial attempts with one goal – finish the day in the “Top Nine”. The No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS/ Curb car was fourth on track to qualify and rookie Alexander Rossi clocked an impressive 230.048 mph run on his first and only attempt. That first attempt’s speed was quick enough to keep the Honda-powered car in the “Fast Nine” throughout almost the entire session. Just seconds before the closing gun was fired, one last car made its final effort and bumped the rookie from pole contention.
Today the final starting grid was set and the No. 98 car set out for one final try with spots 10-33 up for grabs. The Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian entry was last in the group to fight for the 10th spot and saw the checkered on qualifying with an average speed of 228.473 mph. The rookie will start from the middle of the fourth row and also earned “Fastest Rookie” honors.
This week’s practice brought mixed weather each day of on track activity. The Tuesday session was cancelled due to rain and Mother Nature couldn’t make up her mind if she wanted it to be hot, cold, or windy. Through all the weather conditions the entire team proved to be strong, including the California-native. Rossi finished fourth for Practice 1, 15th for Practices 3 & 4, 10th for Fast Friday, and claimed the top-spot for qualifying practices both Saturday and Sunday
WHAT HE’S SAYING
“Eleventh was one away from what we could’ve hoped for after yesterday, so we’ll take it. It’s pretty clear that the Andretti cars are pretty strong, including the NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb car. We’ll keep working away these next few days and do the best that we can to be as prepared as possible for race day.”