Indy 500: Dixon beats Herta for fourth Indy pole
Marcus Ericsson, took the #8 Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda out first, and as he got to his fourth lap, he started getting very close to the walls, but he kept his foot in, knowing that whatever happened, his third Indy 500 would yield his best grid position here.
His pace was immediately called into question when Ryan Hunter-Reay delivered a 231.428 on the opening lap, but the 2014 Indy 500 winner had much faster drop-off across the four laps. However, the Andretti Autosport driver clung on to deliver a better average.
Alex Palou did even better, however, proving the quality of the Ganassi team’s overnight work to fix the #10 car, following Palou’s major accident in Turn 2 on his second run yesterday.
Four-time Indy pole-sitter Helio Castroneves couldn’t grab a fifth, but in his first 500 away from Team Penske, the Meyer Shank Racing-Honda driver nailed a 230.355mph average.
Then out came Rinus VeeKay, who crashed his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet in testing last month, and he produced the first 232mph lap of the day. He had a nasty wriggle through Turn 1 on his fourth lap but kept his foot in to set a startling 231.511mph average, 1.1mph faster than the next fastest at the time, Palou.
Team boss Carpenter was next out and set near identical speeds to his young teammate over the first three laps, but the three-time pole-winner lost 0.1mph on the fourth lap to slot into second.
The #48 American Legion-sponsored Ganassi car of Tony Kanaan today didn’t have pole-winning pace on this day although he was comfortably clear of all but the ECR pair.
Colton Herta in the second Andretti Autosport-Honda in the field was a major threat to VeeKay though, his third lap being notably faster, and then being the first driver to keep all four laps above 231mph.
Scott Dixon was the last to run, and when he landed a 232.757 on his opening lap it was clear that Ganassi’s six-time IndyCar champion had the potential to earn his fourth pole. His drop-off was around 1.1mph across the four laps, so his final margin over Herta was only 0.03mph – after 10 miles of flat-out driving around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – but the job was done.
|P||Driver||Team-Engine||Lap 1||Lap 2||Lap 3||Lap 4||Average|
|1||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||232.757||231.879||231.333||230.778||231.685|
|2||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport-Honda||232.356||231.672||231.349||231.247||231.655|
|3||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet||232.323||231.632||231.181||230.914||231.511|
|4||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet||232.390||231.647||231.174||230.812||231.504|
|5||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||231.721||231.079||230.838||230.491||231.032|
|6||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||231.228||230.642||230.419||230.177||230.616|
|7||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport-Honda||231.428||230.656||230.225||229.696||230.499|
|8||Helio Castroneves||Meyer Shank Racing-Honda||230.995||230.393||230.184||229.852||230.355|
|9||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda||230.996||230.484||230.063||229.734||230.318|