Indy 500: Costly gamble for McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin gets in some practice laps in preparation for the Indy 500 in Indiana on...
Scott McLaughlin gets in some practice laps in preparation for the Indy 500 in Indiana on Saturday. Photo: of IMS- Walt Kuhn
The fickle nature of the spring weather in the US  Midwest has proved costly to the Indy 500 aspirations of Christchurch-born racer Scott McLaughlin.

A contemplative Scott McLaughlin in the pits. Photo: IMS/Joe Skibinski
A contemplative Scott McLaughlin in the pits. Photo: IMS/Joe Skibinski
Last weekend, McLaughlin was leading the Indianapolis Grand Prix in his Team Penske- Chevrolet when he spun out during a yellow flag period in rain at the Indiana speedway.

On Saturday when he was looking likely for a grid 15 start in the 33-car line-up for the upcoming Indianapolis 500, his team gambled by withdrawing his qualifying speed of 231.543 miles per hour to try to improve his starting spot with a second attempt.

This proved costly, as shortly before making that attempt the track was temporarily closed due to rain. 

On the resumption of qualifying McLaughlin, who was first on, dropped further down the grid with a qualifying average speed from his four-lap stint of 230.154mph.

That will now see him start from grid 26, beside last year's winner Helio Castroneves (Brazil).

The other New Zealand entrant, Scott Dixon, is to contest the Pole Shootout, with the 12 fastest drivers racing the clock to earn pole position.

The 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be raced on Sunday, May 29 (local time), with drivers competing for a $US10 million ($NZ15.6 million) prize pool.

- By Allan Batt

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