IndyCar driver thought he was getting a participation trophy

Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing, IndyCar (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing, IndyCar (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images) /

Marcus Armstrong’s reaction to getting a trophy for being the biggest mover in Sunday’s IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park was priceless.

After being penalized in qualifying on Saturday for impeding another car, Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Marcus Armstrong was forced to start the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports in 26th place out of 27 cars, making it a tall task for him to maintain his lead atop the IndyCar rookie standings.

The fact that Armstrong entered the weekend leading the rookie standings was impressive in itself, given the fact that he had only competed in two of the season’s first three races. The other three rookies had all competed in all three races.

Yet at the end of Sunday afternoon’s 90-lap race around the 17-turn, 2.38-mile (3.83-kilometer) natural terrain road course in Birmingham, Alabama, the 22-year-old had extended his lead atop the rookie standings, growing it from one to 15 points.

He did so by being the IndyCar race’s biggest mover.

After starting in 26th place, he finished in 11th. No other driver moved up more than eight places, and as a result of his achievement, he got a trophy.

His initial reaction?

“Do I get a trophy for 10th loser? What is the reason?”

To be fair, not many did realize you get a trophy for it, and Armstrong’s 15-place improvement took place in only his third career IndyCar start.

Through three starts, Armstrong sits in 17th place in the championship standings, putting him ahead of 10 drivers who have competed in all four races. His points per race average of 20.67 ranks 12th, and his average finish of 10.00 ranks seventh.

From a bit higher up the grid on Sunday, who knows where Armstrong could have finished. But it might not have come with the advantage of receiving a trophy for being “10th loser”.

Next. All-time IndyCar wins list. dark

The New Zealander is set to make his fourth career IndyCar start behind the wheel of the No. 11 Honda in the GMR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on Saturday, May 13. The race is set to be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.