Late crash knocks Siegel out, Rahal makes Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nolan Siegel’s crash on the final qualifying attempt for the last row of next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 knocked the 19-year-old rookie out of the race and assured two IndyCar regulars — Marcus Ericsson and Graham Rahal — of starting spots on the 33-car grid.

Siegel was bumped from the final starting spot on the next-to-last attempt in the session when Ericsson, the 2022 Indy winner and 2023 runner-up, posted a four-lap average of 230.027 mph to move into the No. 32 spot.

It also prevented Ericsson from missing the field after mistakenly lifting his foot off the fuel pedal with one lap to go in his first qualifying run of the day, thinking he was finished. The mistake gave Ericsson a speed of 195.411, dropping his average from above 230 mph to 220.411.

Ericsson’s crew with Andretti Global spent most of the next 45 minutes trying to cool the engine in the No. 28 Honda before sending Ericsson back onto the track for one last attempt.

Dale Coyne Racing responded by giving Siegel, a 19-year-old rookie, one last chance. But he wasn’t quick enough on the first lap to unseat Rahal for the final starting spot, and when Siegel went into the first turn needing more speed, he wound up hitting the wall exiting the turn, and skidded down the track before moving back up the track and into another wall.

Siegel climbed out of the car without assistance and was checked and released from the infield medical care center.

But the crash, his second in three days, kept Ericsson and Rahal, who was bumped out of the race on the final attempt of the day last year in the race. Rahal will start on the outside of the 11th row with an average of 229.974.

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