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Qualifying report
IndyCar Indianapolis 500

Indy 500: Penske stays on top, heroic VeeKay rebounds from crash

Will Power led a Team Penske sweep on the opening qualifying day for the Indianapolis 500, as Rinus VeeKay stole the show with a heroic late run.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Power was the ninth of 34 drivers to go out on track vying to make the field of 33 and began his march with an electrifying 234.030mph opening lap.

By the time he completed all four of his laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he rolled to an average speed of 233.758mph to take the top spot. “I wouldn't have trimmed any more than that,” said Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner.

Scott McLaughlin furthered Penske’s stranglehold at the sharp end of the field after a 233.332mph four-lap average was enough to secure second, ahead of team-mate and defending Indy 500 champion Josef Newgarden in third (233.293mph four-lap average).

Arrow McLaren endured a rollercoaster day but ended on a high note with Alexander Rossi dropping a stellar four-lap effort of 233.069mph to slot fourth – despite the track temperature exceeding 48C with 70 minutes remaining in the session.

Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood, who went out first on the day, delivered a combined pace at 232.764mph to hold as the fastest Honda-powered car in fifth.

Following an issue that led to aborting his initial run, Kyle Larson rebounded in the #17 Arrow McLaren-Rick Hendrick Chevrolet with a 232.563mph four-lap average to end up sixth.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist vaulted to a 232.547mph run in seventh, ahead of AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci (232.496mph) in eighth.

Felix Rosenqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Felix Rosenqvist, Meyer Shank Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato put his #75 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda in ninth after a 232.473mph effort.

After early struggles, Pato O’Ward made a late surge on his third attempt with roughly an hour and change remaining to put his #5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet in 10th, with a 232.434mph four-lap run.

“It felt good,” O’Ward said. “Obviously, it's the best run that we've had all day.

“The one previous to this, we found an issue quite quickly as soon as we started the run. Hats off to the guys that we went back and made the changes that we needed to, cooled everything off to get back out.”

After crashing on the opening lap of his maiden attempt in the morning, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay pulled off a dramatic run in the final seconds to pull off a sensational 232.419mph in his rebuilt car to grab 11th.

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Peacock TV

“We had hopes and that's what brings you there,” VeeKay said. “Wow! What an effort from the guys. Incredible.

“I just had to make sure I keep it alive, get it over the line. I’m not sure what a pole feels like, but this feels way better.”

The final transfer spot of the top 12 was occupied by 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay, who delivered a run in the final hour and rolled to a 232.385mph four-lap effort in the #23 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet.

The first driver on the outside looking in and now locked into the starting spot of 13th was Colton Herta, who was bumped out by VeeKay’s late surge. Herta’s #26 Andretti Global Honda logged 232.316mph four-lap run.

Reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, who was last year’s pole-sitter for last year’s edition of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ ended up 13th and unable to make a last run to break in as he was in line to go out as time expired.

The group of drivers that will be left battling to make the field for the last row includes 2022 Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson (Andretti Global), Katherine Legge (Dale Coyne Racing), rookie Nolan Siegel (Dale Coyne Racing) and – for the second year in a row – Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing).

Marcus Ericsson, Andretti Global Honda

Marcus Ericsson, Andretti Global Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

“It's tough, for sure,” Ericsson said. “You know, this place has very high highs and very low lows and I think today was one of those, but I can only blame myself.

“I put ourselves in this position with my crash and the team has been amazing rebuilding and a new car and working so hard all day to get me out for new runs. But it’s very tough.”

Of note, there were engine-related issues that occurred and interrupted the promising late runs of several drivers, including Conor Daly (Dale Coyne Racing Chevrolet), rookie Christian Rasmussen (Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) and Agustin Canapino (Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet), among others.

Indy 500 - Saturday qualifying results

   
1
 - 
3
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph
1 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 4

2'34.0053

  233.758
2 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 4

+0.2810

2'34.2863

0.2810 233.332
3 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 4

+0.3071

2'34.3124

0.0261 233.293
4 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 4

+0.4556

2'34.4609

0.1485 233.069
5 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 4

+0.6581

2'34.6634

0.2025 232.764
6 United States K. Larson Arrow McLaren/Rick Hendrick 17 4

+0.7912

2'34.7965

0.1331 232.563
7 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 4

+0.8021

2'34.8074

0.0109 232.547
8 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 4

+0.8362

2'34.8415

0.0341 232.496
9 Japan T. Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 75 4

+0.8513

2'34.8566

0.0151 232.473
10 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 4

+0.8773

2'34.8826

0.0260 232.434
11 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 4

+0.8877

2'34.8930

0.0104 232.419
12 United States R. Hunter-Reay Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports 23 4

+0.9100

2'34.9153

0.0223 232.385
13 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 4

+0.9563

2'34.9616

0.0463 232.316
14 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 4

+0.9629

2'34.9682

0.0066 232.306
15 United Kingdom C. Ilott Arrow McLaren 6 4

+1.0131

2'35.0184

0.0502 232.230
16 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 4

+1.0451

2'35.0504

0.0320 232.183
17 United States E. Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing 20 4

+1.1555

2'35.1608

0.1104 232.017
18 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 4

+1.2016

2'35.2069

0.0461 231.948
19 United States M. Andretti Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani 98 4

+1.2405

2'35.2458

0.0389 231.890
20 Brazil H. Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian 06 4

+1.2534

2'35.2587

0.0129 231.871
21 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 4

+1.2670

2'35.2723

0.0136 231.851
22 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 4

+1.2697

2'35.2750

0.0027 231.847
23
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 4

+1.2835

2'35.2888

0.0138 231.826
24
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
33 4

+1.3799

2'35.3852

0.0964 231.682
25 United Kingdom T. Blomqvist Meyer Shank Racing 66 4

+1.4501

2'35.4554

0.0702 231.578
26 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 4

+1.4929

2'35.4982

0.0428 231.514
27 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 4

+1.4981

2'35.5034

0.0052 231.506
28 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 4

+1.5255

2'35.5308

0.0274 231.465
29 United States C. Daly Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports 24 4

+1.6750

2'35.6803

0.1495 231.243
30 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 4

+1.7715

2'35.7768

0.0965 231.100
31 United Kingdom K. Legge Dale Coyne Racing 51 4

+1.9534

2'35.9587

0.1819 230.830
32 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 4

+1.9978

2'36.0031

0.0444 230.765
33 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 4

+2.0516

2'36.0569

0.0538 230.685
34
N. Siegel Dale Coyne Racing
18 4

+3.6985

2'37.7038

1.6469 228.276

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