Danica Patrick to race for Indy 500 pole; James Hinchcliffe doesn't qualify

Danica Patrick is going to be one of nine drivers competing for the pole position in the Indianapolis 500.

Patrick was ninth-fastest during qualifying for the famed IndyCar race on Saturday, meaning she’s part of the Fast Nine who will compete for the pole position on Sunday. While Patrick, making her final start in American auto racing, easily qualified for the race, another IndyCar star did not. James Hinchcliffe was waiting in the queue as time expired on qualifying day and didn’t make the field. Hinchcliffe’s speed in his first qualifying run wasn’t fast enough to make the 33-car field and he had to abort an attempt with 11 minutes to go because of a vibration.

His last attempt didn’t happen as Pippa Mann was on track when the clock expired while Hinchcliffe waited on pit lane. Mann also failed to qualify for the race.

Patrick is racing for Ed Carpenter Racing in her final Indianapolis 500. She ran the 2018 Daytona 500 for Premium Motorsports and crashed out of the race. After her contract with Stewart-Haas Racing wasn’t renewed at the end of 2017, Patrick announced that she would end her auto racing career with the two biggest races in American motorsports.

Danica Patrick waits during qualifications for the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The potential absence of Hinchcliffe is a huge blow for a race that doesn’t have the widespread attention that it once did. We say potential because Hinchcliffe, who competed on Dancing With The Stars and is a key spokesperson for Honda, is so popular that Honda could buy a ride for him in the May 27 race. But for now, he’s out of the race.

The other eight drivers who will run for the pole position with Patrick are Helio Castroneves, Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot, Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon.

James Hinchcliffe, of Canada, prepares to drive during a practice session for the IndyCar Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Thursday, May 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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