During Fast Friday practice for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, Kyle Kaiser smacked the wall in Turn 3. He was OK, but his No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet wasn't.
For some teams on the grid, the next steps would be simple: Pull out a backup car, get the driver dialed in and prep for Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying. For Juncos Racing, a small, part-time NTT IndyCar Series team with limited resources, the loss of the primary car could have been devastating.
The primary car was severely damaged but Juncos had a second tub and -- with help from other teams -- enough spare parts to start piecing a ride back together. Staff from Juncos' other racing programs chipped in to help.
Team owner Ricardo Juncos said around 8:40 p.m. ET Friday that he was confident the ride would come together in time for first-day Indy 500 qualifying on Saturday. But the work was just beginning.
The secret, of course, was coffee. Lots of coffee.
By 10:52 p.m., the team had an engine running.
Finally, at 3:07 a.m. Saturday, Kaiser's ride was off the lift.
The car passed inspection Saturday morning and was fired up for an 8 a.m. practice session. Kaiser turned an all-important 32 issue-free laps in the practice and is 33rd in the qualifying line. This is what the Indianapolis 500 is all about.
In Saturday’s qualifying session, drivers will compete for one of 30 locked-in starting positions and a spot in Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout, which determines the starting order for the first three rows for the Indy 500. Fans can watch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold and from 5 to 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network.