Scott Dixon. (Photo: Al Steinberg)

Scott Dixon Wins Pole For Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS — Scott Dixon established himself as one of the greatest pole qualifiers in Indianapolis 500 history with a record-setting performance in Sunday’s “Fast Six” round of qualifications for the May 29 Indianapolis 500.

Dixon, who was also the fastest driver in the preceding Fast 12 round, was the last driver on the track at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway to make an attempt. When he saw his first lap register at 234.437 mph, a big smile came across his face inside of his helmet.

He knew he was on the pole-winning run.

After running three laps at 234.162 mph, 233.859 mph and 233.726 mph, Dixon knocked teammate and defending IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou off the pole with a four-lap average of 234.046 mph.

“That’s what this place is about; it’s so amazing,” Dixon said. “It’s crazy. This PNC Bank No. 9 crew and Honda, they brought it today. Just so happy for everybody.”

That’s the fastest four-lap qualification average for an Indy 500 pole ever, although it is not the record for fastest four-lap average. That still belongs to Arie Luyendyk, who recorded his record 236.986 mph on the second day of qualifications in 1996. Luyendyk’s run on Pole Day that year was disallowed by USAC officials because his car was seven pounds too light during post-qualifying inspection.

Luyendyk lit up the field the next morning with his record run, but had to start the 1996 Indianapolis 500 in 20th position.

Dixon’s four-lap average broke the record of 233.718 mph set by Scott Brayton, who won the pole in 1996.

It’s Dixon’s fifth career Indy 500 pole and his second in a row. He is the first repeat pole winner since Ed Carpenter won back-to-back pole positions in 2013 and 2014. He is just one pole shy of Rick Mears’ Indy 500 record of six.

It’s Chip Ganassi Racing’s first 1-2 start in the Indy 500 since 2008 when Dixon started on the pole and teammate Dan Wheldon was second.

That is the only year Dixon has won the Indianapolis 500.

Palou starts second after running a four-lap average of 233.499 mph in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Rinus VeeKay, the fastest qualifier in Saturday’s provisional round of qualifications with a four-lap average of 233.655 mph, ran a four-lap average of 233.385 mph in the No. 21 BitNile BitCoin Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Carpenter starts on the inside of Row 2 with a four-lap average of 233.080 mph in the No. 20 Chevrolet. Marcus Ericsson starts in the middle of the row with a four-lap average of 232.764 mph and Tony Kanaan put The American Legion Honda on the outside of Row 2 at 232.372 mph over four laps.

Drivers that didn’t make the Fast Six out of the Fast 12 make up Rows 3 and 4. Those included Pato O’Ward at 232.705 mph in the No. 5 Chevrolet, teammate Felix Rosenqvist is next at 232.182 mph and Romain Grosjean’s No. 28 DHL Honda starts on the outside of Row 3 for Andretti Autosport.

Row 4 includes two-time Indianapolis 500 winning driver Takuma Sato’s four laps at 231.670, in the No. 51 Honda, 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power’s No. 12 Chevrolet at 231.534 mph and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and Indy 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson on the outside of Row 4 at 231.264 mph in the No. 48 Carvana/American Legion Honda.

Johnson was fast in Sunday afternoon’s practice session, but on the first lap of his qualification attempt he bobbled and nearly went sideways in Turn 1. That cost him enough time that he could not make up over the remainder of his four-lap run.

IndyCar announced it’s the fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history, although the 33rd starter, Stefan Wilson, never posted a qualifying time because of engine issues.

Chip Ganassi Racing was able to get all five of its drivers into the Fast 12 and four of the five advanced into the “Fast Six.”

“To get five of our cars into the fast 12 and four into the (Firestone Fast) Six, I hope Chip has a smile on his face.,” Dixon said. “That definitely deserves a smile.”

All 33 cars entered in this year’s Indianapolis 500 return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a two-hour practice, Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

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