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DragonSpeed, Juncos in Headlines at Indy 500 Qualifying

Strong showings from sports car racing teams in qualifying for Indianapolis 500…

Photo: IMS

DragonSpeed and Juncos Racing were among the teams that were in the headlines last weekend in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, which saw a strong showing from sports car racing entrants making one-off or selected NTT IndyCar Series race appearances.

The two teams, which typically campaign prototype machinery, were locked into the 103rd running of the race following a drama-filled two days of qualifying.

Indianapolis rookies Ben Hanley and DragonSpeed qualified their way into the show on Saturday, with the Englishman completing a four-lap average of 227.482 mph in his Chevrolet-powered Dallara.

It came after a challenging start to the week for the Elton Julian-owned squad, with several of its crew members held up in Monza following the European Le Mans Series round.

Hanley, who made his IndyCar debut in St. Petersburg, is confirmed for a five-race program with the team this year, alongside their FIA World Endurance Championship and ELMS commitments.

Fellow prototype squad Juncos, meanwhile, stole the headlines on Bump Day, with Kyle Kaiser knocking out two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso from the race in a dramatic last row shootout.

Kaiser, a regular in the team’s Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, put together a 227.372 mph average in a backup car, which the Ricardo Juncos-led team prepped, with the help of its DPi mechanics, following a heavy accident on Friday.

It came just days after Juncos’s two primary sponsors pulled their backing from the race, which had cast initial questions into the team’s participation.

While reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and current WEC points leader Alonso is surprisingly out of the show, a number of other sports car-affiliated outfits successfully raced their way in.

Ed Jones, in the Scuderia Corsa-partnered Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet-Dallara, will start fourth, with the Vasser-Sullivan-backed Dale Coyne Racing entry of Sebastien Bourdais rolling off seventh on the grid.

Meyer Shank Racing, which scored a surprise podium finish in this month’s Indianapolis GP with Jack Harvey, qualified 25th, in what will mark the Ohio-based team’s third appearance in the race.

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, meanwhile, claimed pole on Saturday in the Fast Nine Shootout.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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