Alexander Rossi will start on the last row for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 next Sunday, May 27. Due to some bad luck, he will be lined up 32nd in the famed "field of 33."
"We had a tire puncture on the way to the line-up for qualifying today," said Rossi. "Horrible luck, but this place has its up and downs."
On Saturday, the first day of qualifying brought drama to the Speedway with rain delays and the traditional "bumping" which has made qualifying weekend famous in the past. Rossi, who was sitting P19 after his first run, decided to make another attempt to improve his time and make the "Fast 9" (which would run for pole position on Sunday). He missed it by just .04 of a second, and was 10th fastest on Saturday.
Going into Sunday, those qualifying 10 through 33 would make another 4-lap run for final position on the grid. Lining up in reverse order, Rossi was last to go in the session.
With a steep drop in speed after his first lap, Rossi said on the radio that his car was loose. Driving it through risky rough handling the next two laps, Rossi finished with a four-lap average of 224.935, well below his Saturday qualifying time of 227.561.
In 2016, Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 after falling to the back of the pack due to pit stop challenges. "Our NAPAKnowHow 27 crew can climb from the back. We’ve done it before. It's all good, there's a second time for everything."