Scott Dixon held on for an agonizing 2 hours after being the fourth car in line to qualify and setting a four lap average of 226.760 mph to take his second pole at the Indianapolis 500.
With only one attempt at the pole at hand, the Kiwi was not to be denied as he set the only lap above 227 mph of the session on his opening lap and followed it up with three more consistent laps to secure a 226.760 mph average and knock Ed Carpenter off the pole.
“To be honest, it was a little better than what we thought, especially on the first lap,” said Dixon. “I thought we would be kind of around a mid-226 mph or a low 226 mph. I’m not sure if we got a gust of wind. But we’ll take it if that is what is going to help.”
“It’s daunting (going out fourth), I hadn’t been in that situation before,” said Dixon. “I can’t exactly remember how 2008 played out, but I don’t think we went that early. I think not having the fast nine there is no second chance that was it. You have a 30 minute practice to try and combine your best effort with the new configuration that we have and I don’t know man I’m just so damn happy for this team it’s fantastic, so happy for Target, we are starting on the pole.”
Dixon’s four lap average was a clear .5 mile an hour quicker than Will Power, who led carried the flag for Team Penske with a four lap average of 226.350 after leading the rescheduled practice session just before qualifying.
Power’s teammate Simon Pagenaud has his best starting position at the 500 in third place and and Tony Kanaan will start in the top five for the first time since 2009 on the inside of the second row. Helio Castroneves will hope to chase his fourth Indy crown from the fifth position while Justin Wilson carried the flag for Honda and Andretti Autosport and qualified sixth.
Wilson’s Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti was the only other Honda in the top 10 and qualified in the eighth position.
Ed Carpenter managed to turn his day around somewhat after his Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing team prepared his backup car in less than two hours and Carpenter managed to qualify in his drawn position and briefly held the pole until Dixon went out. His lap did hold up for an 12th place starting spot, his first start off the front row since 2012.
“When I was upside down out of Turn 2 this morning, I didn’t know we were going to have the delays that we had,” he said. “If things would’ve stayed on schedule, we would’ve been qualifying for a spot on the last row, but the way things worked out, it gave the team the time it needed to get a car ready for me.”
“We were off a little bit on the gears, so just a gear change and we would’ve been well into the 225 mph range.”
Juan Pablo Montoya was the only Penske car not in the top 5 and will start outside the top 10 for the second year in a row in 15th.
Chevrolet dominated the session claiming eight of the top ten spots and Honda filling out 15 of the last 23 spots.
Jack Hawksworth, Bryan Clauson, Stefano Coletti and Buddy Lazier will need to re-qualify in order to fill out the final row. Lazier’s car suffered mechanical problems during the final practice session and did not make an attempt.