Alonso upbeat despite ninth row start for Indy 500

Fernando Alonso will start his second Indy 500 bid next week from 26th on the 33-car grid after lacking speed in Saturday’s qualifying run.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver clocked in with an average speed over the four-lap run of 228.768 mph that put him behind his rookie teammates Pato O’Ward (15th) and Oliver Askew (21st).

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At the top of the timesheet, Marco Andretti confirmed in qualifying his impressive pace in practice with a four-lap average of 231.351 mph that nicely lines up the Andretti Autosport charger for Sunday’s fast nine shootout for pole.

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Alonso acknowledged his lack of pace in the Saturday session but remained upbeat on his prospects for race day.

“The speed was not there yesterday in practice and today in qualifying,” said the future Renault F1 driver.

“We know that so we just wanted to put in a solid run in for qualifying with no mistakes and execute the best we could. I think we achieved that, and I’m happy with that.

“The No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP car was feeling great today (and) I think we have a good race car because the first few days we were on the competitive side.

“The starting place for the race is not changing our hopes for next Sunday,” he added.

“All our focus now is on the race. This place offers a lot of possibilities even for the people starting at the back, and we will be looking to take that possibility next week.”

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