Indy 500: Dixon leads as Power and De Silvestro face qualifying battle

Scott Dixon will lead the Fast Nine shootout at the Indianapolis 500 qualifying on Sunday, while Will Power and Simona De Silvestro are among the five drivers who will fight for the last row of the grid.

Indy 500: Dixon leads as Power and De Silvestro face qualifying battle

Chip Ganassi Racing's Dixon set the fastest first lap – 232.574mph – the fourth fastest second lap, the fastest third lap, and the fastest fourth lap to clock an average of 231.828mph.

There appear to be five drivers capable of snatching away Dixon’s first IndyCar pole since the 2017 Indy 500, once the Fast Nine shootout commences tomorrow. Three of them are his teammates – Tony Kanaan, Alex Palou and Marcus Ericsson – who ran in less favourable conditions but clocked third, sixth and eighth fastest.

The others are Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport-Honda, who had the pace to snatch second, and Ed Carpenter in fourth.

The three-time polesitter gave the lie to the theory that Chevrolet were way off Honda while running 1.5-bar turbo boost, as his eponymous Ed Carpenter Racing machine clocked a 232mph opening lap to put him right in Dixon/Kanaan territory. Carpenter ominously radioed into the team after his four-lap run that there was more to come.

Immediately after everyone set their first run times, Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden headed out to make a second run, and while marginally improving his average speed over the four-lap run, he didn’t improve his 20th place.

By contrast, another Chevy runner, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay vaulted from 12th to fifth, only a moment on his fourth lap preventing the Indy GP winner from claiming second.

Marco Andretti made a similar improvement in the #98 Andretti Autosport-Honda to edge away from the danger zone of relegation to the Last Chance Qualifiers, moving up from 28th to 24th.

Palou took a heavy shunt in the #10 Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, with his car spinning before bouncing across the track, but the Spaniard was able to step out without assistance. He was soon discharged from the infield medical center and cleared to drive.

Having taken the slow line to join the track, Palou hadn’t needed to withdraw his current best four-lap average of 231.145mph so his time is safe and may still get him through to the Fast Nine shootout tomorrow. 

Conor Daly in the third Carpenter car abandoned his run, while Sage Karam’s Dreyer & Reinbold Racing-Chevy completed its run but did not improve.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Barry Cantrell / Motorsport Images

With less than an hour to go of the session, a busy pitlane prompted race director Kyle Novak to decide the order in which cars would hit the track.

Juan Pablo Montoya went out with revised gearing in his Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet but couldn’t make any improvement and finished in 24th.

Ed Jones in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan-Honda, made a major improvement to vault from 19th to 11th, and next up was Stefan Wilson (Andretti Autosport), who again failed to better his time from the first run.

Felix Rosenqvist (Arrow McLaren SP) sat 17th and improved to 14th, while 2020 polesitter Andretti (25th) came next and got fractionally better but didn’t move up the grid.

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From the fast line, De Silvestro hit the track in the Paretta Autosport-Chevrolet and while her first lap was 230.2mph, her second was only 228.5. Her pace continued to falter to 226.55mph on her fourth lap, which dropped the Swiss outside the top 30 and will consign her to the Last Chance Qualifier battle tomorrow.

Next up came Team Penske’s Will Power, in the unbelievable position of needing to fight his way into the field. His first three laps were consistent but ranged only from 229.392 to 229.252mph, but his fourth, a 228.885, dropped him to 31st.

Tomorrow afternoon, Power, de Silvestro, Karam, Charlie Kimball (AJ Foyt Racing) and RC Enerson (Top Gun) will fight for the last three places on the grid.

Cla Driver Team Time Gap Mph
1 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'35.287   231.828
2 United States Colton Herta Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian 2'35.408 0.120 231.648
3 Brazil Tony Kanaan United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'35.414 0.126 231.639
4 United States Ed Carpenter United States Ed Carpenter Racing 2'35.429 0.142 231.616
5 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 2'35.519 0.231 231.483
6 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 2'35.733 0.446 231.164
7 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'35.746 0.458 231.145
8 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 2'35.750 0.462 231.139
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 2'35.773 0.486 231.104
10 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 2'35.813 0.525 231.046
11 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 2'35.814 0.527 231.044
12 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 2'35.936 0.648 230.864
13 Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 2'35.948 0.660 230.846
14 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP 2'36.016 0.729 230.744
15 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 2'36.041 0.754 230.708
16 Canada James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 2'36.139 0.852 230.563
17 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 2'36.143 0.856 230.557
18 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 2'36.168 0.880 230.521
19 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 2'36.231 0.944 230.427
20 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 2'36.392 1.104 225.496
21 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 2'36.473 1.186 230.071
22 United States J.R. Hildebrand United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2'36.535 1.248 229.980
23 United States Santino Ferrucci United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 2'36.556 1.268 229.949
24 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Arrow McLaren SP 2'36.596 1.308 229.891
25 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Herta-Haupert with Marco & Curb-Agajanian 2'36.608 1.321 229.872
26 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 2'36.673 1.385 229.778
27 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2'36.696 1.409 229.744
28 United Kingdom Stefan Wilson United States Andretti Autosport 2'36.716 1.429 229.714
29 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 2'36.919 1.632 229.417
30 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2'37.671 2.384 228.323
31 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 2'37.049 1.761 229.052
32 United States Sage Karam United States Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 2'37.096 1.809 229.158
33 United States Charlie Kimball United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 2'37.617 2.329 228.401
34 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro Paretta Autosport 2'37.621 2.334  
35 United States R.C. Enerson Top Gun Racing 2'38.393 3.105 227.283
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