Scott Dixon Takes Pole for Indy 500
James Davison was also announced as Bourdais’ replacement.
After a rain shortened qualifying session on Saturday, the Fast Nine fought for pole late Sunday afternoon. Being on pole for the Indy 500 doesn't give really you a better chance of winning, but it does come with a $100,000 prize.
Ironically, Fernando Alonso couldn't give up what has become a Formula One tradition for him this year. After the morning warm-up, the team didn't like some of the telemetry they saw from the car, so they changed the engine. His team got the car to technical inspection with just minutes to spare. Old habits die hard.
Based on the times put up Saturday and earlier Sunday when the rest of field duked it out for positions 10 through 33, the pole would be going to someone with a four lap average of over 231 mph.
Andretti Autosport got four of their six Honda-powered cars in the Fast Nine and Marco Andretti was first to take to the track to run for pole. He laid down a solid 230.474 mph four lap average. Tony Kanaan was up next and beat Marco with a 230.828 mph.
Up third was Fernando Alonso. He hadn't put a wheel wrong all week and got faster with every day. His engine change made things a little more tense. After his four laps, he was all smiles with an average of 231.300 mph.
Will Power was the first of the three Chevy powered cars in the fast nine to go out. His laps of 230.200 mph would be the slowest of the group. Defending Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi took over provisional pole from Alonso with an average of 231.487 mph. JR Hildebrand was next and ended with an average of 230.889.
With the three fastest runners from Saturday left to go, Scott Dixon hit the track. It was obvious from the live data stream off the car that he was going fast. Very fast. With each of his four laps, the crowd let out a huge roar. His average was a staggering 232.164 mph.
Takumo Sato followed with an adventurous four laps. He clipped the wall at the end of turn two twice on his run. Despite that, he kept his foot down and finished with an average of 231.365 mph.
Last to try for pole was Ed Carpenter. He surprised everyone on Saturday by going fastest in his Chevy-powered car. Honda has held the advantage all week. Carpenter was the last hope of getting the bow tie on pole. He was quick, but not quick enough with a 231.664 mph over four laps.
This is how the Fast Nine ended up:
- Dixon 232.164 mph
- Carpenter 231.664 mph
- Rossi 231.487 mph
- Sato 231.365 mph
- Alonso 231.300 mph
- Hildebrand 230.889 mph
- Kanaan 230.828 mph
- Andretti 230.474 mph
- Power 230.200 mph
With the rows at Indy consisting of three cars, Alonso with start from the middle of row two. Not to bad for a "rookie" with about one week's worth of experience driving on an oval. You can view the full starting grid in the this great graphic on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website.
IndyCar also announced that James Davsion will be filling in for the injured Sebastien Bourdais. He has raced in two Indy 500s before, the last of which was two years ago. He did not set a qualifying time today and will start from last position on race day. He'll have a few days of running this week to get up to speed.
The Indy 500 is Sunday, May 28 with television coverage starting at 11am ET on your local ABC channel, or it can be live-streamed as well.