Qualyfying Quandry: Team Penske Secures Front Row, Siegel Bumped Out of Indy 500

It was a wild day at the "Yard of Bricks," featuring drama for pole and for the final spots in racing's greatest spectacle.
Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin (3) practices for the...
Team Penske driver Scott McLaughlin (3) practices for the... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The field is set!

The 2024 Indianapolis 500 by Gainbridge that will take place next Sunday at 11am EST on NBC, Memorial Day weekend, saw a glimpse of what "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" may bring to us following a wild and exciting weekend of qualyfying.

The story of the 2nd of two days of qualifying was Team Penske securing the front row, showcasing the team's two Indy 500 winners, Josef Newgarden and Will Power, while "Scotty Mac", Scott McLaughlin took home pole in the fastest run ever for an Indy 500 top spot qualifier.

Other notable stories included the excellent showcase of speed from Santino Ferruci, who made it to the Fast Six and starts 6th for next weekend's race, while Kyle Larson continued to take to an IndyCar with ease, locking himself a 5th place spot and start for Sunday.

Although happiness was seen amongst most of the Top 12 drivers, heartbreak prevailed for the likes of Nolan Siegel, crashing out for the second time this week and preventing himself from qualyfying into the indy 500.

The drama-filled weekend encapsulated what's to come at the storied brick-infused palace in one week's time and there is a lot to go over leading into this week.

Siegel Sorrows

It is unfortunate the outcome that Nolan Siegel had on Sunday's LCQ, but it was a tough, steep road to make it into the field for the 19-year-old.

One of two pursuing teenagers vying for a spot in the 2024 Indy 500, Siegel is touted as one of the rising stars in open-wheel racing and has shown imensive growths over the past several years.

Competing in both IndyCar and IMSA, Siegel has became well diverse over a short span that has allowed the up-and-coming driver to earn these incredible opportunties at a young age, such as running the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

The struggle however for Siegel was a mix.

Compared to the rest of the field, Siegel's #18 Honda didn't have the pace compared to his teammate Katherine Legge or the other Hondas competing.

Part of that comes from performance and power from the manufacturer, which Honda has struggled so far in May on the Oval, but also, Dale Coyne has had a revolving door of drivers which puts a bit of a disadvantage on one-off drivers like Legge and even an occasional driver like Nolan Siegel.

Nevertheless, Nolan Siegel just didn't have the right setup this year. Also, following a vicious crash that saw the young gun flip on his side, the team had to immediately move to a backup car which in result put the team behind the eight ball, similar fashion to 2022 Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson.

Siegel's future is bright and Sunday may have been one of the few hiccups the 19-year-old has seen, but the top IndyNXT driver will be back soon and battling to get into the Indianapolis 500.

Kyle Larson: Greatest Modern Day Driver?

Kyle Larson has continued to find ways to prove us wrong.

Whether that be owners, teams, drivers, media or fans, Kyle Larson has set the new standard for this modern era we are apart of in racing.

This past week was truly special to see not only the performance that Larson put together, but how calm and patient he is with this new venture.

While he briefly stepped into an IndyCar in previous stints prior to the major two weeks, Larson truly has not seen the full experience of what is his first Indy 500.

To see him comfortable qualify himself in a 5th place position truly writes the narrative on the level of driver the 2021 Cup Champion is.

In all truthfulness, Kyle Larson may be the Greatest Modern Day Driver of All-Time.

The seamless transition he is able to do from dirt racing to NASCAR to open wheels is a testament to the type of competitor and talent Larson is and there is only more to come.

Between a Rolex 24 win in 2015 to a NASCAR Cup Series Championship, Larson has succeded somehow someway in all of his ventures, but what is next?

Well, obviously Larson has a chance to do the unthinkable, win both the Indianapolis 500 & Coke 600, but a Daytona 500 maybe looming and whose to say Kyle Larson couldn't take his talents over to Le Mans someday to race in the storied 24-hour race.

With Kyle Larson, never say never when it comes to what his next racing venture will be.

Penske Power

It will be tough to find someone that can contest with the front row Penskes, but speed does kill.

Penskes have looked so strong leading up to qualifying and are by far on a different pace than the rest of the drivers.

McLaren does like the next team up but given how unpredictable Indy can be this weekend, their is no telling who will finish where.

Penske has had the speed and the consistency, a dangerous combo for opposing teams, but at this point, maybe two or three teams may legitimate shot to knock off Leesburg.

Scotty Mac has had a very strong month of May, especially around the oval configuration and looks to be contending for his first title, but Will Power has had a potential race winning machine.

While an all Penske battle for the 500 would be incredible at the finish, chaos can ensue which makes this spectacle what it is.