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

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