SPEEDWAY, Ind. — For the first time in 33 years, an Andretti will lead the field of the Indianapolis 500 to the green flag on race day.
Marco Andretti turned in the fastest four-lap average of the fastest nine drivers in the Fast 9 Shootout on Sunday. His average of 231.068 mph, was only .017 quicker that Scott Dixon’s average of 231.051 mph.
“I had to work there,” Andretti said. “Especially on that last lap. I knew it was going to be interesting. I knew it was going to be close too because I was watching the speeds. The luxury of going last is that you know the benchmark. Luckily we were just on the better end of that.”
The last time an Andretti sat on the pole of the Indianapolis 500 was back in 1987 when Marco’s grandfather, Mario Andretti, won the pole.
Dixon will start second and Takuma Sato (230.725 mph) will start third on the outside of the front row.
“It’s nice to break up the Andretti party on the front row,” Dixon said afterward. “But now it’s time we focus on the race. We’ll keep our head down and hopefully, it will pan out come race day.”
Marco Andretti’s teammates at Andretti Autosport struggled to replicate the speed that had in round one of qualifying on Saturday.
The likes of Ryan Hunter Reay (5th), James Hinchcliffe (6th), and Alexander Rossi (9th), were outpaced by rookie Rinus Veekay, who will start fourth as the only Chevy-powered car among the front three rows.
Alex Palou joins Veekay as one of two rookies in the first three rows. Graham Rahal will start eighth.
“Obviously I was emotional,” Andretti said of his feelings as he climbed out of his car. “This place means so much to me and my family and obviously we’ve had our ups and downs. My cousin John (Andretti), was riding with me and my grandfather back home.”
Drivers have just one practice session remaining between the end of Sunday and race day on Carb Day, Friday, Aug. 21. Race day is Aug. 23rd.
The field will role off on race day as follows:
Row 1: Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato
Row 2: Rinus Veekay, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe
Row 3: Alex Palou, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi
Row 4: Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, Spencer Pigot
Row 5: Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O’Ward
Row 6: Ed Carpenter, Zach Veach, Conor Daly
Row 7: Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey, Oliver Askew
Row 8: Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Dalton Kellett
Row 9: Simon Pagenaud, Fernando Alonso, James Davison
Row 10: Helio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton
Row 11: Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand, Ben Hanley