Scott Dixon scores fifth career Indy 500 pole with second-fastest four-lap average in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history
INDIANAPOLIS — The lineup for the 106th Indianapolis 500 is set with Scott Dixon setting the second fastest four-lap average in race history in the final round of qualifying at 234.046 mph. Dixon will lead the field to the green Sunday with Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay lining up beside him to start the 2022 edition of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
"I knew the pole was guaranteed for our team but I wanted it," Dixon said. "It doesn't guarantee anything but it's a huge privilege to sit on the pole.
"I knew we had a high (233-mph qualifying run) in the car. It's just such a fine line of (the car) being comfortable and nice to drive and completely taking off."
It is the fastest front row in Indy 500 history.
INDY 500: A complete guide to the 33-car starting lineup for the 2022 Indianapolis 500
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With only 33 entries, there was no traditional Bump Day preceding pole qualifying. Rather than a Fast 9 Shootout, which has been the norm for the last several years, IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opted to lock the top-12 drivers from Saturday's qualifying into a second round of qualifying with a Fast 6 to determine the first two rows.
Takuma Sato, who had a tumultuous Saturday qualifying, was the first car to qualify on Sunday. He set a 4-lap average speed of 231.670 mph as the benchmark.
Dixon was the third car to qualify and set a blistering average of 233.510 mph. His Chip Ganassi Racing teammates, Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan, and Alex Palou followed, but were unable to qualify faster than Dixon. The fifth Ganassi racer Jimmie Johnson, qualifying for his first Indianapolis 500, had a major moment in Turn 1 on his first lap and was unable to match the pace of his Ganassi teammates. Johnson was bumped from the Fast 6 and will start 12th Sunday.
No one was able to best Dixon's speed from the Fast 12 session. Rinus VeeKay came close, but fell one tenth of a mile an hour off of Dixon's average.
WHAT A SAVE, @JIMMIEJOHNSON!
Jimmie saves it on the first corner of his qualifying run. He'll start on the first four rows in his first #Indy500. pic.twitter.com/q3PVJdz3qi
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 22, 2022
Chip Ganassi Racing took a stranglehold of the top-6, sending four of its cars on to the final round of qualifying. Andretti Autosport and Team Penske's lone representatives in the Sunday session, Romain Grosjean and Will Power, were knocked out and will start 9th and 11th, respectively.
The remaining six finalists fighting for the pole were either Ed Carpenter Racing's Chevrolets or Chip Ganassi Racing's Hondas.
After an extensive cool-down period, the fastest six cars of the month were ready to duel for the pole. 2013 winner Tony Kanaan went out first and posted an 232.372 mph average speed. Hometown driver Ed Carpenter, looking for his fourth Indy 500 pole, then went out and beat Kanaan's speed with a 4-lap average of 233.080.
Kanaan's teammate Marcus Ericsson was the third car to qualify in the Fast 6, but was unable to beat Carpenter's speed. Ericsson did, however, achieve his best career Indy 500 starting spot of fifth.
The defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou went out next and stole another pole position away from Ed Carpenter. Palou's average was roughly five tenths faster than that of Carpenter, slotting him into the provisional pole position.
Carpenter's teammate, Rinus VeeKay, was poised to be the first Dutch polesitter since Arie Luyendyk in 1999, but came up just short of besting Palou's speed. VeeKay could not match the pace that he had during the Saturday session and had to settle for a third-place starting spot.
The final car of the day to make a qualifying run was Dixon, 2008 winner and four-time Indy 500 polesitter.
"I knew he was gonna get it," said Alex Palou in the news conference. "I kind of wish that Scott, knowing that he already had four pole laps here, that he could have gave me one, but he doesn't share much so we'll have to get that next year."
Dixon's laps were blistering. His first two laps were faster than anything set in the Fast 6. As he crossed the line, Dixon's 234.046 mph average became the second-fastest time ever recorded in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. It was the top speed for a pole winner, topping Scott Brayton's 233.718 mph.
Results of Sunday's Indy 500 qualifying session:
1. Scott Dixon, Honda, 234.046 mph.
2. Alex Palou, Honda, 233.499.
3. Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 233.385.
4. Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 233.080.
5. Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 232.764.
6. Tony Kanaan, Honda, 232.3
7. Pato O'Ward, Chevrolet 232.705.
8. Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 232.182.
9. Romain Grosjean, Honda, 231.999.
10. Takuma Sato, Honda, 231.670.
11. Will Power, Chevrolet, 231.354.
12. Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 231.264.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indy 500 pole: Scott Dixon in top position for Sunday's race