Rain delays Justin's Indianapolis 500 qualification effort After passing his Rookie Orientation and spending a few days getting up to speed around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Justin had to put his qualifying effort on hold for a week when rain...
Rain delays Justin's Indianapolis 500 qualification effort
After passing his Rookie Orientation and spending a few days getting up to speed around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Justin had to put his qualifying effort on hold for a week when rain prevented running on Sunday. He and Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team-mate Graham Rahal were almost within reach of the top-11 starting spots for the Indianapolis 500 on Day 1 of qualifying on Saturday. The two drivers had hoped to qualify solidly within positions 12-22 on Sunday, but the session was cancelled due to bad weather. Sunday's rain followed a two-day washout last week and has added to the unique challenge of this event.
"It's quite frustrating, but that's how it is. You can't change the weather," said Justin. "We both realise how close we came to getting in the top-11 and that's quite an achievement considering where we started out. We're slowly making progress. We didn't expect to be able to get in the race on the first day and we were both really close so that's encouraging."
With no track activity on Monday and Tuesday, Justin will make the most of the downtime to head home to wife Julia and newborn daughter Jane in Colorado. Practice resumes for three days from Wednesday to Friday, ahead of next Saturday's qualifying attempt.
"We'll validate a couple of little things we have changed on the car for qualifying and then switch over to race set up and make sure the McDonald's car works well in traffic and is consistent over the longer runs," explained Justin. "Then we'll switch it back for qualifying later in the week and get ready for Saturday qualifying. Now I have experienced qualifying, you know what happens and you know how the car works. Its good to get that experience especially seeing as I wasn't expecting to qualify yesterday, so I didn't put too much pressure on myself. It was nice to go out there and run four laps flat out and not feel like I was going to crash. Hopefully we can repeat that come Saturday and be the best of the second qualifying group."