The 2007 Indy Lights champ and originally a developmental driver on retainer with Target Chip Ganassi, Alex languished mainly on the sidelines for a couple of year before he got his full-time ride. That’s not to say he didn’t show flashes; in 2009, in the HER Energy Car, “Pink Lloyd” qualified 11th for the Indy 500 in a one-off program, and finished 13th even after going a lap down due to a broken light.
|I'm still not sure how he did it.|
(Courtesy IndyCar Media)
This year, Alex is only running the ovals for Coyne, but has already proven his mettle with a gritty, redlining qualification effort in the waning minutes of Bump Day to make it into the field. I honestly don’t think anyone there thought that car had the speed to make it. Lloyd afterwards said the vibration in the car was so bad, he couldn’t see on the last lap of the run. His oil pressure skyrocket; he feared he might lose the engine. It was an old-school, edge-of-your-seat run that seemed to belong to a tougher, historical era of Indy. It belonged to 1951 or 1961 as much as it belonged to 2011.
I also like Alex because (proud Hoosier I am), he’s decided to make Indy his home. He’s raising his kids here, and really is starting to feel like a “hometown” driver. He’s been nothing but friendly and accommodating every time I’ve run into him at the track.
But honestly, how can you not read this quote by Lloyd and not cheer for the guy?:
“The one thing I learned today that I thought I had already figured out in my three years of racing this race, I honestly believed that I knew what Indy meant, what it means to race this race and go through some of the emotions you do. This to me is why I’m over in America, why I want to race IndyCar. Every race is important, but Indy is what gets me up in the morning.”
There are many drivers I hope find the sponsorships or partnerships to race full-time, but Alex Lloyd has to be right at the top of that list. I’m not sure how the rest of his season will play out, but I hope it leads to great opportunities in 2012.