The 23-year-old Indycar driver qualified for the 33rd and final starting spot at the Indy 500 in an unsponsored auto, knocking two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso out of the event. We did some fuel saving as well, to see how we could do in the race. It's not like we showed up and gave our best. We were racing against some very experienced teams in Indy vehicle and unfortunately we came up a little short, try as we might.
"I was just doing what I've been doing", said an elated Kaiser. "That's where this whole thing fell down, in the project management".
McLaren head Zak Brown acknowledged the stress after the team tried a completely different setup in Sunday morning practice.
McLaren purchased a vehicle from technical partner Carlin, and though the auto was orange when McLaren received it, it was not the proper McLaren "papaya orange".
His Juncos Racing team didn't even send him out for practice laps in the morning as it put the finishing touches on the vehicle.
The Carlin spare was in a paint shop 30 minutes from the track, more than a month after McLaren complained about the color, and it ultimately cost McLaren nearly two full days of track time. I really could not tell you why. O'Ward and his Carlin teammate, former F1 driver Max Chilton, who led the 2017 race for 50 of the 200 laps, are both going home a week earlier than planned.
Alonso will have to wait until next year to try his hand at Indy once more in hopes of attaining motorsport's Triple Crown, but if history is an indicator-which it often is-McLaren isn't the team to do it with. Reigning CART champion Bobby Rahal missed it in 1993, and two-time Indy victor Rodger Ward never got up to speed to make the 1965 field.
The McLaren budget for this Indy 500 was strong, every sponsorship opportunity had been sold and the venture was a guaranteed commercial success for McLaren.
McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran, a former Indy 500 victor and two-time series champion, said it was "the most painful day" in his career.
Kaiser started 17th and finished 29th in the Indianapolis 500 previous year.
Numerous issues were beyond Brown's control. The alternator and wiring loom needed to be replaced, then Alonso crashed and hit the wall three times Wednesday.
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Alonso, who led the race in 2017 in an Andretti Autosport entry before an engine failure, crashed his Chevrolet in practice on Wednesday and the Spaniard then missed almost two full days of practice while a back-up auto was prepared.
Alonso would have qualified for the race proper had he managed to repeat Saturday's performance and go 31st-fastest.
"This is truly what Team Penske does", Pagenaud said.
Alonso's failure to qualify overshadowed the action at the front of the field, as the top nine drivers, including Australia's defending champion Will Power, took to the track for the Fast Nine Shootout to decide the front three rows of the grid. "Are you comfortable?'" Brown said.
Kyle Kaiser has never been happier to come in last place. McLaren discovered after the qualifying run that the auto had the wrong gear ratio setup.
"Luckily we've got a chance", the 32-year-old Canadian said, according to The Associated Press.
Alonso's first run was spoiled by a cut tire, his next two just weren't up to an acceptable speed. There was some real heroism in that. "It's tough because we're starting last in the field, but we're in the field".
Alonso has rejected an offer from the team to purchase a seat in the Indy 500 field for him. McLaren was back at the 500 for the first time since it dominated in the 1970s.
"I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down".
"I've had more fun days, if I'm honest with you", said Hinchcliffe. "Unfortunately, it was a little short, but it was a great day for the team".
"We'll come back fighting".