Fernando Alonso and his McLaren #66 Dallara Chevrolet have been on the bubble in top-30 qualifying Saturday. After switching to a McLaren solo effort supported by Carlin Motorsports this year, following a successful run in 2017 with an Andretti-supported effort, the team doesn’t seem to be doing as well without the help of a front runner.
Bad luck plagued the McLaren team early in the day, as a deflating tire hampered the Spaniard’s first run of the day. As the track heated up, times started getting more difficult to set, and an additional three runs were all for naught as the orange #66 couldn’t drag up out of the bottom six. On his final run, Alonso set a four lap average of 227.224 MPH, which was temporarily good enough to get him into the top 30. With minutes to go, J.R. Hildebrand, who had been outside the bubble all day as well, set a time good enough to put him 21st on the grid, which effectively bumped Alonso out of the top 30 permanently.
Today’s qualifying efforts ran all day and set the field for the top 30 cars, with a last chance qualifying effort scheduled for tomorrow to determine who gets officially bumped from the 33 car field. There are six cars running tomorrow to make the field, and Fernando Alonso will be one of them.
Also scheduled for tomorrow is the top-9 shootout to set the first three rows of the grid. Currently, Spencer Pigot is on provisional pole with a 230.083 MPH four-lap average. If there is rain tomorrow, the bottom 3 last chance qualifier will be pushed until Monday, but the top-9 shootout will not be rescheduled. If it rains tomorrow, Spencer Pigot will be the pole sitter for the 103rd Indianapolis 500.