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Autosport

Indy 500: Dixon claims pole record with 234mph average

Dixon had booked his place into the Fast Six by going fastest in the preceding Top 12 session, edging Rinus VeeKay for pace with a 233.510mph run.

Last to take to the track in the final part of qualifying, the six-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner delivered two laps over 234mph and even his fourth and slowest lap was faster than most drivers’ fastest efforts, and broke a four-way tie for second most Indy poles in history. He now lies only one behind record holder Rick Mears.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver's effort also leaves him with the second fastest qualifying run of all time at Indy, behind only Arie Luyendyk’s run in 1996 - although that was not set on Pole Day and only earned Luyendyk only 21st on the grid.

Dixon outqualified his teammate and reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou by 0.5mph, with Rinus VeeKay joining them on the outside of the front row with the fastest Chevrolet-powered car - the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing machine.

Tony Kanaan, one of four Ganassi cars that made it into the Fast Six, was the first to roll and his first lap was 232.996mph but by lap 3 he had to marginally lift in Turn 1, and produced a 232.372mph average.

Ed Carpenter took to the circuit next, and he hit 242mph heading into Turn 1 and he had a 233.860mph first lap, and his second and third laps were also in the 233s, and although he dropped to 232.053 on his fourth lap, his average was 233.080 and he looked a contender for the front row.

He survived Marcus Ericsson’s attempt which was an average of 232.764mph after a lift in Turn 1, but Alex Palou offered sterner opposition with a 234.048 followed by a 233.698, 233.304, and a 232.950. That average of 233.499 guaranteed Palou a front-row start for his third Indy 500.

Rinus VeeKay’s ECR-Chevy was strong, set four 233s, but his average came up 0.114mph short of Palou, albeit beating teammate Carpenter.

Carpenter thus begins from the front of the second, setting the fourth-fastest run in the Fast Six session ahead of Ericsson and Kanaan.

Of those unable to progress from the Top 12 session, Pato O'Ward was closest to making it through, the Arrow McLaren SP driver only sixth and on the bubble of graduating to the Fast 6 when yesterday’s pacesetter Rinus VeeKay headed out in the second Chevrolet-powered ECR machinery.

O'Ward was bumped out by the Dutchman's run, however, as VeeKay crossed the line just 0.1mph off of Dixon's Top 12 run.

The Mexican driver was about 0.5mph faster than Arrow McLaren SP team-mate Felix Rosenqvist as Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport's only hope, kicked off his run with an excellent 233.270mph, his fastest lap of the week, but lost almost 2.5mph across the four laps to start his first Indy 500 in ninth.

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato of Dale Coyne Racing was the first out on track and hit 232.165mph on his opening lap, which dropped to 231.450mph by his fourth and final lap, to set an average of 231.670mph to claim 10th spot.

The sole Team Penske representative in the Top 12, 2018 winner Will Power danced up to the Turn 1 wall twice on his run and explained afterwards the balance of the car was not as good as in yesterday’s qualifying session, and he ended up behind Sato.

Ganassi rookie Jimmie Johnson had a huge moment and enacted a great recovery at Turn 1 on his opening lap, but kept his head to deliver a fine 232.9 next time by.

However, the speed dissipated rapidly on laps 3 and 4 and he wound up at the bottom of the speed chart. Nonetheless, he had covered himself in glory by saving the biggest non-crash of the session.

Indianapolis 500 qualifying Fast Six results

P

Name

QSpeed

QLap1Speed

QLap2Speed

QLap3Speed

QLap4Speed

Engine

Team

1

Scott Dixon

234.046

234.437

234.162

233.859

233.726

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Alex Palou

233.499

234.048

233.698

233.304

232.950

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

3

Rinus VeeKay

233.385

233.746

233.403

233.224

233.167

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

4

Ed Carpenter

233.080

233.860

233.228

233.187

232.053

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

5

Marcus Ericsson

232.764

233.257

232.768

232.490

232.543

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

Tony Kanaan

232.372

232.996

232.629

232.302

231.564

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

Indianapolis 500 Top 12 results, P7 - P12

Pato O'Ward 

232.705 

218.072 

233.476 

233.080 

232.288 

231.983 

Chevy 

Arrow McLaren SP 

Felix Rosenqvist 

232.182 

215.923 

232.594 

232.213 

232.208 

231.716 

Chevy 

Arrow McLaren SP 

Romain Grosjean 

231.999 

220.259 

233.270 

232.473 

231.337 

230.931 

Honda 

Andretti Autosport 

10 

Takuma Sato 

231.670 

213.421 

232.165 

231.746 

231.450 

231.321 

Honda 

Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR 

11 

Will Power 

231.534 

217.683 

231.968 

232.080 

231.596 

230.500 

Chevy 

Team Penske 

12 

Jimmie Johnson 

231.264 

221.034 

229.911 

232.947 

231.854 

230.368 

Honda 

Chip Ganassi Racing