SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It was a day filled with jubilation and drama as a handful of drivers took their final qualifying runs in order to secure their spot in the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 Sunday.
Scott Dixon secured his fourth career pole in the Indianapolis 500, with a four-lap qualifying average of 231.685 mph.
“This one felt especially good,” Dixon said. “When you see the level of competition in the series this year, it’s incredible. It’s a team effort and I am so proud of these guys.”
Dixon was the fastest of four Chip Ganassi Racing cars that were able to qualify for the top nine spots on the starting grid. Dixon is joined by Colton Herta (231.655) and Rinus Veekay (231.511) on the front row.
Some cars trimmed to the point there was hardly any downforce in the cars in order to get as much speed as possible.
“I gave it everything I had. Just missed out on Colton and Scott, but this feels like a win, like a pole for us,” Veekay said. “I told my engineer, ‘if you trim out don’t tell me, because I’m going to be flat out no matter what’.”
Dixon, at 40 years old, along with Herta (21) and Veekay (20), make up the youngest front row in the history of the Indianapolis 500. The whole starting grid is also the fastest in the history of the race with a total average of 230.396 mph.
On the other end of the field, Sage Karam, Will Power, and Simona de Silvestro sweated out a Last Chance Qualifying session in which five drivers had to vie for three open spots on the last row of the grid.
Power is not at all upset with having to start on the last row.
“I am very happy I’m in the show,” Power said. “This is like a victory for us. I was just thing that that’s what racing is about, you know. Overcoming challenges and seeing what you can do on race day.”
The trio bumped Charlie Kimball and RC Enerson (R) from the field. With Power starting on the back row, it is the first time ever a car from Team Penske has qualified on the last row. Mario Andretti started on the final row for Team Penske in 1978, but he had another driver qualify that car for him and the driver switch had him move to the back.
Silvestro and Paretta Autosport, with team owner Beth Paretta, are the first female owner-driver combination to qualify for the Indy 500 since Sarah Fisher did it as an owner and driver in 2008-2010.
For Karam, it’s the fourth time in his career he will start the race on the final row.
After a two-hour practice session after qualifying concluded on Sunday, race teams will have the next four days off before a two-hour practice session Friday for Carb Day. That will be the last practice session before race day this coming Sunday.
Here is the starting grid for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500:
Row 1: Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, Rinus Veekay
Row 2: Ed Carpenter, Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou
Row 3: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Marcus Ericsson
Row 4: Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones, Pato O’Ward
Row 5: Pietro Fittipaldi (R), Felix Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato
Row 6: James Hinchcliffe, Scott McLaughlin (R), Graham Rahal
Row 7: Conor Daly, Jack Harvey, Josef Newgarden
Row 8: JR Hildebrand, Santino Ferrucci, Juan Pablo Montoya
Row 9: Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais
Row 10: Stefan Wilson, Max Chilton, Dalton Kellett
Row 11: Sage Karam, Will Power, Simona De Silvestro