A thrilling finish by Alex Lloyd?
It must be Indy 500 time.
The BSA Motorsports driver successfully qualified yesterday for the Indianapolis 500. But getting a spot in the 33-car field wasn’t easy.
Fourteen drivers; nine remaining spots. Those were Lloyd’s odds coming into yesterday’s Bump Day, where drivers who aren’t fast enough get bumped out of the race entirely.
Here’s how it works: Qualifying times determine a driver’s starting position, and they must be recorded within a six-hour qualifying window. Too slow, and you’re done.
Lloyd’s first attempt wasn’t fast enough, and when he got back into his No. 19 car for another try, less than 10 minutes remained in the window.
This would be his last shot at qualifying for the biggest race of the season.
When Lloyd crossed the finish line — with an average speed of 223.957 miles per hour — he was just fast enough. Team owner Dale Coyne and Lloyd’s crew cheered and hugged to celebrate the continuation of their week at Indy and the end of what Lloyd called ”one of the most stressful weekends” in his career.
Lloyd will start near the back of the pack on Sunday — in 31st, to be exact. But Indy fans know that a rear starting position didn’t stop him last year.
At the 2010 Indy 500, Lloyd began the race in 26th and stormed his way to a fourth-place finish.
“I mean, it’s not a good qualifying position, but to just be a part of it, to get ourselves in the show, for myself, for Dale, for the crew, for all their families, there’s nothing like it,” Lloyd said. “I mean, it’s a very sweet end to a very difficult weekend.”
Coyne, whose motorsports team operates the No. 19 BSA car, said qualifying weekend can be a roller-coaster ride.
Case in point: Two previous IndyCar Series race winners, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway, didn’t even make Sunday’s race.
“You realize how hard it is to get in this race sometimes, and this race can get in your head,” Coyne said. “But that’s what makes it great, with the pressure of what this is. It gets us all up in the morning and keeps us up at night.”
Be sure to tune in and cheer for Lloyd and the BSA Motorsports team on Sunday. The race starts at noon Eastern Time and will air live on ABC.