Justin will line up 16th on the 33-car grid for next weekend's Indianapolis 500 and is on target to become one of the few drivers to score points in both F1 and IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Justin's four-lap average speed on Saturday in...
Justin will line up 16th on the 33-car grid for next weekend's Indianapolis 500 and is on target to become one of the few drivers to score points in both F1 and IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Justin's four-lap average speed on Saturday in the No. 02 McDonald's car was 222.267 mph (L1: 223.158, L2: 223.175, L3: 221.507, L4: 222.233). His Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal qualified 13th with a four-lap average speed of 222.531 mph.
"It's great to finally qualify for the Indy 500," said Justin. "I'm very proud and pleased with the team and the effort they've put in all month and all year, in fact. It feels great for McDonald's and myself to get in the race."
Though pleased with the achievement, Justin felt that there had been the potential to do more and rued the windy weather conditions and the lack of a backup car which meant the team couldn't risk another faster-paced run. "It was tough. Every corner was different and difficult, but Turn 2 was the worst," he said. "Every time you turned in there, if felt like the front end was lifted off the ground and skated off the track. You're reluctant to lift, but you have to, so you do a quick lift and get back on the throttle. I was actually quite frustrated with a couple of my laps. It feels good to get in the show, but I wanted to go again. I think we could have done a much better job the second time around, but that's quite a gamble. Not having a backup car was definitely a factor in how we ran. If we went out and had an accident there would have been no way we could have made it to qualifying. That's something in the back of your mind and you can't afford to risk damaging the car."
Looking ahead to the 92nd running of the world's most celebrated race, Justin commented: "Both myself and Graham are used to running at the front, but we're here learning. We've come from a long way behind and if we can finish in the top-10 it would be like a victory for us considering where we started a few months ago. I'm very pleased with the way we have made progress and everybody at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing has worked very hard over the last six months. We've had some very tough times and some long days, but they keep working hard and putting out good cars. I think we've got a good race car, so I can't wait until Race Day. It will be great to have done both events (USGP and Indianapolis 500), but the one that counts is this one of course; it's the world famous one."