Dixon delighted with strong display during opening Indy 500 qualifying

Scott Dixon was third fastest on Saturday - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Scott Dixon was one of the early qualifiers during Saturday’s first qualifying session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the New Zealander was able to put an extremely strong run in to finish third fastest.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver watched as driver after driver completed their own runs, with only Takuma Sato and then Ed Carpenter setting a four-lap average better than his own 230.333mph.

Dixon will now be part of the Fast Nine shootout for pole position, along with team-mate Tony Kanaan, and could be one of the favourites as track conditions improved throughout Saturday’s opening efforts.

“It’s a great day today in Indianapolis and it’s great to see so many fans out here even after the rain we had,” said Dixon. “Just the butterflies and anticipation before you get to go out always gets you here.

“I think the NTT Data car has been strong and the whole Ganassi team has been performing great. We’re happy with our time and we’re pleased with the laps we ran.

“There is still tomorrow of course so doing the best we can on Sunday is what really matters.”

Team-mate Kanaan was another early qualifier, and had a four-lap average of 230.007mph, which was enough to see him finish eighth fastest, meaning he will be the second driver out on track during the pole position shootout on Sunday.

“I can rest easy tonight knowing that I gave everything I had and the car had in that qualifying run,” said Kanaan.  “The guys gave me a great car – I’d say it was at 95%, so pretty close to as good as it can be.

“I’m happy with the run and the boss was happy with the run, so it was a good day. Now we just need to regroup and focus on doing this all again tomorrow and hopefully grabbing that pole position.”