Scott Dixon takes pole position for 2015 Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon emerged from a tumultuous Indianapolis 500 qualifying process as the polesitter for next weekend's IndyCar race.

Scott Dixon takes pole position for 2015 Indianapolis 500

A combination of rain on Saturday and the introduction of late regulation changes on Sunday morning to address the rash of airborne accidents during practice left qualifying reduced to a single four-lap run for each driver.

Dixon was fourth cab off the rank and reeled off a four-lap average of 226.760mph, and his speed proved to be enough to see off the threat presented by the Penskes and Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan.

"It means a lot," said the New Zealander. "With all of the preparation that goes into qualifying, I'm so proud of everybody who has worked to get the speed out of the car.

"It was definitely a tough day. I'm stoked. We went so early that we weren't sure [the time] was going to stick.

"Starting from pole is always better than starting from anywhere else. But it's a long race.

"We'd love to replicate what we did in 2008 [winning the race]. We've qualified on pole, now we just need to stay there for the last lap."

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Will Power came closest to unseating him, but he ultimately fell just short with a 226.350mph average.

Fellow Penske driver Simon Pagenaud will complete the first row, ahead of Kanaan and Helio Castroneves.

"The car was pretty good, we had no issues at all," Castroneves said. "It's one of those things.

"I thought we had a good one, but we feel very, very strong for the race and that's what matters."

The only Penske driver not among the frontrunners was Juan Pablo Montoya, who continued to struggle to find the sweet spot in his car.

The Colombian will start from 15th, but he said that he is optimistic about his chances next weekend.

"The car in race trim is fantastic," he said. "It's probably the best oval car I've had.

"I'm really excited for the race. This is just making our lives a little more difficult than we needed."

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Justin Wilson was the fastest of the Honda-powered cars and will start from the outside of row two, with Andretti Autosport team-mates Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz offering the only other Honda representation on the first four rows.

Last year's 500 winner and fellow Andretti driver Ryan Hunter-Reay was the second car out, but he knew even before the session ended that his time was not going to stand.

"Mediocre at best," he said. "I don't think it's going to be anything special."

One of Honda's other great hopes was Graham Rahal, however he will start alongside Hunter-Reay in 17th after suffering a mechanical problem during his run.

"The car stopped shifting," he said. "The strategy with the wind like that was to shift to sixth on the back straight, and the first two laps we were matching Dixon.

"Then on the third lap the car got stick in fifth and then next time around it went to sixth and wouldn't shift back down. I'm pretty upset."

Sudden and unpredictable wind gusts were increasingly a factor as the session went on, and several drivers ended the day convinced that they could have been faster had they not struck a sudden headwind on the straight.

Meanwhile, Buddy Lazier did not clear tech in time to take his initial qualifying run, and made his sole appearance of the day less than four minutes from the end of the run-off for the final three places of the grid.

His 220.153mph average - in a fully stripped-out car that has barely run all month - was brave, but never looked like enough to get him into the field.

Bryan Clauson, who was on the bump spot, retained his place, and will line up on the outside of the last row alongside Jack Hawksworth and Stefano Coletti.

STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
3 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
4 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
5 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
6 Justin Wilson Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
7 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
8 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
9 Josef Newgarden CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
10 J.R. Hildebrand CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
11 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
12 Ed Carpenter CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
13 Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda
14 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
15 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
16 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
17 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda
18 Simona de Silvestro Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
19 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
20 Alex Tagliani AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda
21 Sage Karam Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
22 Conor Daly Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
23 Townsend Bell Dreyer and Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet
24 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda
25 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda
26 Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara/Honda
27 Sebastian Saavedra Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
28 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda
29 Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology Dallara/Chevrolet
30 Bryan Clauson KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
31 Ryan Briscoe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
32 Tristan Vautier Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda
33 James Davison Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda


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