Exclusive interview with Sting Ray Robb on Last Chance Qualifying: I don’t ever want to do it again

Spread the love

Co-author: John Goolsby

Almost a week has passed since qualifying took place for the Indy 500. It was an incredibly tense and emotional couple of days for rookie Sting Ray Robb.

The 21-year-old missed out on locking himself into the race last Saturday as he failed to get into the top 30. It left him in Last Chance Qualifying with the RLL cars of Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey and Graham Rahal.

Speaking exclusively to pitdebrief.com about the rollercoaster experience, Robb never wants to go through the enormous pressure of Last Chance Qualifying again.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black

“Man, last weekend I don’t ever want to do again. Last chance qualifier is a one and done deal for me. Never again don’t want to do that. I’m glad it’s over, but finally in.

“We’re gonna go race from this Sunday and I’m excited about it.”

Last Sunday Robb managed to get the job done on a single four-lap attempt. He admitted to Pit Debrief that the biggest nerves hit when he was sitting in the car waiting to find out if both Harvey and Rahal would beat his average. They failed to do so.

“You know the ten miles was not the worst part. It was once we did our run we had to wait for the clock to run out.

“So we had to sit in the car for 45 minutes waiting to see if the other guys are going to jump us or not. That was the most nerve-wracking part, sitting in the car not knowing what the other guys were doing.”

Old school communication was required for a while as Robb had shut the whole car off.

“I had turned the car off completely and so I didn’t have any radio communication with the team. So they were feeding me numbers on the whiteboard from the timing stand and give me a thumbs up or thumbs down accordingly. I got all thumbs up the whole time. That was great.”

The team even had the opportunity to crack some dad jokes as they watched the RLL cars on circuit to try and relax Robb somewhat.

Then the emotion poured out for him and his family when it was confirmed he made it.

“About halfway through the run I was able to power back on the car and plug in, and they were telling us dad jokes and whatnot. So it was great to pass the time a little bit and the edge off.

“But once that chequered flag was thrown the tears started coming, not just for myself, but my whole family, just because it’s a lot of pressure, you know.

“To be here and be able to fight is an honor, but at the same time you’d rather just be able to slide on through and move on into Sunday.”

Robb is a devout Christian and spoke about his pride of having John 3:16 on the aeroscreen, as well as his belief that God possibly had it planned out for him to be in the last row shootout.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black

“Yeah, I mean I think the hope was originally to do a full livery, but I think the location of it is great.

“Honestly, I think that God may have had a plan putting us in the last chance qualifier. Not to say that he added attrition to us, but it worked out well.

“We got more screen time with the John 3:16 there on the halo and I’m just getting some exposure to it. I think people saw it, you know, they saw our interview afterwards and they saw the John 3:16 on the side of the car.

“Connected a few dots there and hopefully provide some hope and truth for them,” he concluded.