Promising pace ends in disappointment for Jordan King

Jordan King finished every session inside the top-five and made it through to the Firestone Fast 6 before finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time as a lap one incident brought an early end to his promising display at the INDYCAR Grand Prix.

With Friday hosting two practice sessions and the weekend’s qualifying, Jordan was off to a great start with two productive sessions. Jordan, who had tested at the circuit in late March, finished the first practice session of the weekend in 3rd place and went one better in practice two as he finished in 2nd place – just 0.036-seconds behind the pacesetter.

Assigned to Group 1 for qualifying, Jordan went straight out when the green flag dropped, but radioed back to the crew on his out-lap to say that he was without brakes. Immediately bringing his No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet into the pit lane, the crew went to work to rectify the issue and the rookie was able to head out on a set of sticker reds to set his lap time with only three minutes to go.

On his very first lap at speed, he shot to second with a lap of 1:09.8735 (125.661 miles per hour). The lap held and he finished the session in the fourth position. With the fastest six cars advancing, King moved on to Round 2 – marking the third time in his four Indy car starts that he has made it out of the first round of qualifying.

Starting the second round of qualifying on black tires, Jordan switched to another set of sticker reds to close out the session. Jordan’s blistering lap saw him earn a position in the Firestone Fast 6 with a lap of 1:09.8879-minutes (125.635 miles per hour) – the second fastest lap time of Round 2.

King recorded two laps in the six-minute shootout for the pole position, both on a set of scuffed red tires. His best lap of 1:10.13260-minutes (125.197 miles per hour) secured him 5th place in his first career race at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jordan wasn’t surprised with his result in qualifying and put his success down to his previous test at the iconic circuit.

“The added time I got to test here before the INDYCAR Grand Prix definitely helped me. We did a whole day of testing beforehand and the first lap this morning, I was straight up to speed where normally it takes a couple of runs to really get into the circuit and learn it’s characteristics. I didn’t need to do that today. It was a good start, really. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised on where we qualified. I’ve been focusing on doing my job and doing it at my own speed!”

As the green flag dropped for the 85-lap INDYCAR Grand Prix, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves made contact entering Turn 2. Pagenaud ricocheted into King, causing him to stray off course into the gravel. The AMR INDYCAR Safety Team retrieved the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet from the gravel trap and King brought it around to the pit lane for repairs on the left-front suspension. Jordan re-entered the race in the 24th position, two laps behind the field.

Though Jordan was able to continue following the repairs to his suspension, he spent the remainder of the race on his own lap. With no other cars falling out of the event, King was unable to regain any positions and finished 24th – a thoroughly disappointing result after the pace that had been clear for all to see in practice and qualifying.

“Unfortunately, we got caught up in someone else’s accident. There really was not anywhere for me to go. Wrong place, wrong time which put an end to our race, really. The pace was good as it has been for the last four races. It will all come together eventually, this is just one of those days that is a bit annoying at the moment.”

Jordan now hands the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet back to team-owner Ed Carpenter for the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500. Jordan is next in the car on June 2nd for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit that features a double-header of races.