No. 898
May 24, 2017

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The Line


MAY 24, 2017

(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing NTT DATA Honda) captured the pole position for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil with the fastest average speed -
232.164 mph - in 21 years. The 10-mile run - four laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval - was the best speed seen at IMS since Arie Luyendyk set the track record of 236.986 mph in second-day qualifying on May 12, 1996. The four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and fourth-winningest driver in Indy car history was on the ragged edge all the way around The Speedway. "It feels fast," Dixon said. "Any speed (above) 215 or 220 around this place feels really fast, but I think you just block it all out. You're constantly just trying to feel how the car is, see where you can place it, see if you can improve the next lap. It's been so intense this weekend just trying to hold on to the car for the four laps. I think that's where all the focus has been. But I think for the Verizon IndyCar Series, it's cool to see these speeds gradually creeping up. It's good to see we've made a big improvement. I think I did a 227 average last year, so it's a nice little jump." This is Dixon's third Indy 500 pole position - he won from the front spot in 2008 - and the 26th of his 17-year Indy car career, moving the 36-year-old New Zealander past Paul Tracy and alone into 11th place on the all-time poles list. Editor's Note: Look for more on Indy in "Fumes." -WG

(Photo by Jim Haines/INDYCAR)
Ed Carpenter (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy's Vodka Chevrolet) qualified second with a four-lap average speed of 231.664 mph. It was the third front-row start in the Indianapolis 500 for Carpenter, who was fastest in first-day qualifying. He was the 2013 and 2014 pole sitter.

(Photo By Walter Kuhn/INDYCAR)
Defending Indy 500 champion Alexander Rossi (No. 98 Andretti Autosport NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda) qualified third with a speed
of 231.487 mph. Rossi started 11th as an Indy 500 rookie a year ago, fell back midway and won the 200-lap race on a risky fuel strategy. This will be his career-best start in a Verizon IndyCar Series race - his previous best was fifth earlier this season at Long Beach - and the first front-row start of his Indy car career.

(Photo by Forest Mellot/INDYCAR)
Takuma Sato (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Panasonic Honda, shown here in Sunday morning practice) was fourth-quick with a four lap average speed of 231.365 mph, one of four Andretti Autosport entries in the Fast Nine qualifiers for the Indianapolis 500.

(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Fernando Alonso (No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda) earned a notable fifth starting position
with a four-lap average speed of 231.300. The 35-year-old Spaniard had the most eventful day of the Andretti drivers, with his car undergoing a lightning-quick engine change following the pre-qualifying practice session on Sunday. It didn't seem to bother the two-time Formula One champion who was making his Verizon IndyCar Series and oval track debut, because he took it in stride and went about his business in very impressive fashion.

For a look at the complete starting grid of the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, go here.