Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon will start on pole position for the 99th Indy 500 as he became the only driver to break into the 2:38s on his four lap qualifying run.
The New Zealander’s time of 2:38.758 was enough to put him ahead of Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Will Power, who could only set a time of 2:39.046 in the Team Penske Chevrolet.
That said, over a four lap run round the oval, a difference of only three-tenths is marginal and the Australian will no doubt be kicking himself that he couldn’t find that extra time round Indy.
Indeed, the same could be said for fellow Verizon IndyCar Series regular Simon Pagenaud in a sister Penske. He was only one-tenth behind Power after his run and will have to start from the outside of the first row – which are three-abreast at Indy – but will be hoping luck can go his way and he can challenge for the lead on the opening lap.
There is then a decent chunk – 0.5 seconds – back to the first man on row three: Tony Kanaan. His time of 2:39.643 in the second Chip Ganassi car kept up the good run for Chevy powered Dallaras which saw them lock out the first five placed on the grid.
The last of the five is the third Team Penske car of Helio Castroneves one-hundredth of a second behind Kanaan – literally a hair’s width from starting in fourth.
Sixth place, and a man who is competing in only his second race of the season is Justin Wilson. The rapid Brit competed in the GP of Indy and will compete in the 500 for Andretti Autosport, he laid down his marker by qualifying sixth and the fastest of the Honda drivers – many will now be wondering how he didn’t get a full season drive.
Starting on the third row, and unfortunate to not be starting at least sixth, is Sebastien Bourdais. His time of 2:39.863 was just six-hundredths slower than Wilson but three-thousandths quicker than Marco Andretti – who himself will be looking to break the Andretti curse.
That was the top, now it’s time to look at the bottom of the time sheets and the only driver to miss out on qualifying for the race – Buddy Lazier. Lazier has solely dedicated himself to the 500 in recent years with his team Lazier Partners Racing, unfortunately for him, he couldn’t add to his 18 starts in the race as an issue with an upright and axle left his mechanics with a lot of work to do and that ultimately affected his running in the qualifying session.
On the back row, and fortunate that Lazier had mechanical issues otherwise they would have been in for an early bath were Jack Hawksworth, Stefano Coletti (who in fairness is competing in his first ever oval race), and Bryan Clauson.
Ahead of them, some doing well and others scratching their heads at where they ended up included Pippa Mann, who should be happy with 28th considering she was involved in a rather major shunt earlier in the week. But Townsend Bell, will no doubt be wondering where he could have made up for lost time – which will no doubt be what Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Hunter-Reay are thinking of as well as they start in 15th and 16th.
The 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 24.