Brabham – who was on the softer Firestone Red Tires for the first time ever – turned heads with the fastest time in the opening stanza of the second group of qualifying, placing Brabham’s number atop the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway pylon.
The time at that point was 0.6s faster than his nearest competitor.
In the final runs, Brabham was shuffled to the sixth placed ‘bubble’ spot and as the checkered flag flew was pushed outside the top six transfer position.
The result sees the 22-year-old rookie starting his first ever Verizon IndyCar Series event from 16th position on the grid.The result has lifted the entire PIRTEK Team Murray squad after a tough day yesterday. The day enabled Brabham to get the necessary experience behind the wheel ahead of tomorrow’s Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
On each run through practice this morning, he was able to improve while the team continued to fine-tune the #61 PIRTEK Team Murray Chevrolet.
Tomorrow, Brabham will complete a morning warm-up before the third annual 82-lap Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
MATT BRABHAM – #61 PIRTEK TEAM MURRAY CHEVROLET
“We only just missed out on making it into the next group – it comes down to milliseconds in this competitive Verizon IndyCar Series field at the end of it all. I am still really happy with the performance – with more experience and more laps I’m sure it could have been better.
“Every lap I’m getting quicker and quicker and I still feel as though I haven’t got to the limit yet. The PIRTEK Team Murray crew is doing an excellent job – the guys are really pushing along well. I need to keep pushing myself along and work with the guys on moving forward together.
“As long as I can keep getting those laps under my belt and improving, I’m happy.
“To see my name on top was surprising, I didn’t really expect that – even if I was on red Firestone Tires, it is a big jump from yesterday.
“It’s a special thing to have the #61 and the Brabham name on top of the pylon at Indy – even if for a short amount of time, it doesn’t get better than that.
“The more we’re doing the better we’re getting and we keep improving. I’ve been working on data with Sebastien (Bourdais), he has helped me out a lot – so a big thanks to him and the team at KVSH Racing.
“For tomorrow, the goal for the race is to keep it clean, stay out of trouble and get a good result.
“I’m very happy for the PIRTEK Team Murray crew right now!”
BRETT MURRAY – PIRTEK TEAM MURRAY OWNER
“I couldn’t be happier with Matt’s performance today. I said yesterday, he kept his head throughout the course of a tough day and this shows his maturity and professionalism,” said Murray.
“It was a proud moment to see the PIRTEK Team Murray #61 at the top there for a while.
“Andy Brown, Mitch Davis and all the boys in our team have done a wonderful job on the car overnight. We all did a lot of soul searching yesterday afternoon, but left yesterday feeling as though that was behind us and it was going to improve.
“Matt is just going from strength to strength with each lap he does. He will bring that level of maturity to the race and all we need to do is get the strategy right and stay out of trouble.
“We had our Friday the 13th a day earlier yesterday.
“But we’ve turned the corner and all are walking out of the Speedway tonight with our heads high.”
Saturday, May 14
11:30am-12:00pm (ET) | 1:30am-2:00am – Warmup
3:00pm (ET) – Driver Introductions
3:45pm (ET) | 5:45am (AEST) – Gentlemen, Start your Engines
3:50pm (ET) | 5:50am (AEST) – Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis (82 Laps)
Race Television Times:
ABC (US) 3:30pm (ET)
Fox Sports 501 (AU) 5:30am Sunday (AEST)
IndyCar Radio – SiriusXM – Sirius: 212; XM: 209
Course: Indianapolis Road Course
Length: 2.439 miles (3.925 km)
Turns: 14 – 9 right, 5 left, clockwise direction
Practice for the 100th Indianapolis 500 begins on Monday, May 16.