33 Car Field for Indianapolis 500 Set — Rows 9-11 Preview (Victor Vallee)

The field is set for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500, but not without a plethora of storylines and exciting and dramatic action taking place this weekend. From Scott Dixon’s incredible heroics to qualify his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda on pole of Ed Carpenter’s Chevrolet, it truly was a battle of the brands in Speedway, IN. With the Indianapolis 500 less than 7 days away, Eastside Sports will preview each row of the Indianapolis 500, with the last 3 rows to be previewed today.

 

ROW 11

33rd — James Davison (#18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda); The 23 year old Melbourne native was drafted into the Dale Coyne Racing Honda, which posted the fastest two laps Saturday before an accident on lap 3 would sideline driver Sebastien Bourdais with a fractured pelvis and hip. This will be Davison’s third 500 appearance, and second for owner Dale Coyne. The #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda did not post a 4 lap average time Sunday therefore Davison will start last and will have an uphill battle come race day.

32ndZach Veach (R) (#40 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet); Veach will be making his first start in the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, but it will be his 2nd Verizon IndyCar Series career appearance, filling in for the injured JR Hildebrand at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this year where he finished 19th. Veach was unable to qualify Saturday after a crash Friday sidelined his entry for the first day of qualifying, but was able to qualify Sunday for the greatest spectacle in racing. The rookie will attempt to emulate the success he found in the Mazda Road to Indy, with 6 wins in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires division between 2014 and 2016. The AJ Foyt Racing entry piloted by the young American qualified at a speed of 221.081 mph, over 10 mph off the pole speed set by Scott Dixon. 

31st — Sebastian Saavedra (#17 Juncos Racing Chevrolet); After a 1-year hiatus, the promising Colombian climbed back into the cockpit of an IR-15, this time for Juncos Racing. The daunting task faces Saavedra and teammate Spencer Pigot to drive for a team making its debut in the 500, although Saavedra has 5 previous starts in the 500 mile race, finishing as high as 15th in 2014 for the now defunct KV Racing. Sebastian will roll off 31st after qualifying at an average speed of 221.142 mph, which, like Veach is over 10 mph slower than Scott Dixon’s pole speed.

 

ROW 10

30th — Buddy Lazier (#44 Lazier Racing Chevrolet); The 1996 Champion returns once again, one year older but as once again the oldest driver in the field at 49 years old. While not being able to practice nearly the entire week, the Colorado native was able to qualify his Chevrolet on Row 10, an impressive feat for a team that arrived in Speedway missing many parts from the IR-15 chassis that he chose to compete in this year. Former Indiana Pacer Jeff Teague is sponsoring Buddy this year, which according to the team, was the funding the team needed to compete in the race this year. Lazier qualified the IR-15 chassis at a speed of 223.417 mph for his 20th start in the 500.

29th — Spencer Pigot (#11 Juncos Racing Chevrolet); The Pasadena, California native and Rising Star Racing athlete is making his 2nd start in the Indianapolis 500 this year, with his first coming last year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. The American is running for the fledgling Juncos Racing team, which has its headquarters less than a half mile away from the Brickyard, but has ran for the team before in the Mazda Road to Indy program in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires division, where Pigot was crowned the 2015 champion. Pigot has also competed this year on the road courses for Ed Carpenter Racing, scoring a best finish of 8th at the historic Long Beach Street Circuit. Pigot qualified the Juncos Racing Chevrolet at a speed of 224.052 mph, which was good enough to slot him in front of the aforementioned 1996 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Buddy Lazier.

28th — Pippa Mann (#63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda); The only female in the field will roll off 28th for the Indianapolis 500, as the slowest qualified Honda in the field. London-born driver will hope to finish her fourth straight Indianapolis 500, an impressive feat for an underfunded team in a race where attrition is higher than many races on the IndyCar schedule. Although lacking pace throughout the month of May, she continues to build on her 3-straight finishes in the 500 and the new engineering staff hired by owner Dale Coyne during the offseason to bolster the Chicago, Ill. based team. Her race comes with a cause, of course, with Susan G. Komen for a Cure on the sidepods of her Dale Coyne Racing Honda, which she qualified at a speed of 225.008 mph.

ROW 9 

27th — Jack Harvey (#50 Andretti Autosport Honda); The former two-time Indy Lights runner-up is making his debut in the 500 mile sweepstakes for Michael Shank Racing, who partnered with Andretti Autosport to field the Honda for the promising talent in the #50. The 24 year-old rookie was victorious at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 2015 Freedom 100. Harvey makes his debut in the 500 in the outside of Row 9, qualifying at a speed of 225.742 mph in 27th place, the farthest back any 500 winner has come from.

26th — Conor Daly (#4 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet); The son of former racer-turned-motivational speaker Derek Daly makes his 4th Indianapolis 500 appearance and 2nd for AJ Foyt Racing, the team owned by 4-time Indianapolis 500 champion AJ Foyt, who celebrates his 40th anniversary of his 4th 500 victory this year. The Noblesville, Ind. native now in his 2nd full-time Verizon IndyCar Series season will look to improve upon his 22nd place finish in his debut in the 500 in 2013 for the Houston, TX based team after crashing out after 115 laps in last year’s 500. Daly starts in the middle of row 9 with a speed of 226.439 mph.  

25th — Gabby Chaves (#88 Harding Racing Chevrolet); Chaves will make his 3rd 500 start this year with Harding Racing, another new team in the Indianapolis 500, which announced Saturday its intentions of running more races this year in the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, including races in Texas and Pocono. The 23 year old Colombian has made his 2 previous starts driving for Bryan Herta Autosport, in 2015, and Dale Coyne Racing last year. Chaves’s best finish came in his debut with a 16th place finish. The driver for the #88 Harding Racing Chevrolet, who is honoring NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by running the #88, made famous by the 14-time most popular driver award winner. Chaves will line up on the inside of Row 9 with a speed of 226.921 mph.



Categories: Indy 500

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