Scott Dixon secured his third career Indianapolis 500 pole position during Sunday’s Qualifying session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and hoped it could lead into a second Indy 500 victory next weekend.
The Chip Ganassi Racing driver set a four-lap average of 232.164mph, which was the fastest since Arie Luyendyk’s run in 1996 that hit 236.986mph, to deny Ed Carpenter and Alexander Rossi the pole position.
Dixon sat out morning practice ahead of qualifying, and admitted he had some nerve-racking moments across his four laps, with the wind exiting turn two in particular causing issues for many drivers during the day.
“It’s an emotional place,” admitted Dixon. “We didn’t do the practices this morning; we sat those out. So the first time you get in the car is actually when you have to get the job done.
“The conditions changed; the wind direction was such a big deal. I had to breathe in a couple of times in Turn 2. It was trimmed out. Yesterday in the qualifying line, I was thinking they trimmed too much out. It’s nerve-wracking.”
Dixon admits it is a good feeling to take the pole position but knows that next weekend’s 500-mile race is where it all counts, although the points earned from qualifying has seen him move to the top of the championship standings.
“When you’re sitting, ready to go out and someone puts up a big time, hearing the crowd after the run was epic,” said Dixon. “It’s always a good feeling to be here at Indianapolis. When you win the pole, it’s not the race win, but obviously it’s big on its own. The race is the big one.
“As you mature, you start to appreciate the history here. I feel very blessed and privileged to have won here once. I come back every year and try to duplicate that. Hopefully we can get a multiple.”
Whereas happy with his own performance, Dixon believes that had he not had his crash on Saturday, Sebastien Bourdais would have been in with a shout of beating his time, but the Frenchman will miss the event due to injury.
“Got to give a shout out to Sebastien Bourdais,” said Dixon. “Saw him this morning, and he’s doing well. He’s a team-mate with me in [Ganassi’s] Ford GT programme, we’ve spent a lot of time together over the years, and he’s a hell of a driver.
“To be honest, I think he would have been the one who snatched the pole today. I know he’s going to be on the mend quickly and hopefully he can be in a car here very soon.”