By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – The “Iceman” certainly melted the competition once again in the NTT IndyCar Series as Scott Dixon won his fourth Indianapolis 500 pole Sunday. His four-lap average of 231.685 mph certainly wowed the crowd, but also knew once again in order to win an IndyCar race, you’ll have to get through Dixon.
Dixon went out first to qualify yesterday and went out last Sunday. Right out of the gate, Dixon set an opening lap speed of 232.787 mph and never looked back. Like yesterday, Dixon was P1 after beating Colton Herta’s four-lap average time of 2:35.4034 by just 0.0197 seconds.
When it comes to the speed game, the gap between them was 0.030 mph. Comes to show that even if Dixon is still the man to beat, the competition is ever so close.
However, this was different because qualifying hasn’t been Dixon’s foray. So much so, winning the pole for the 105th Indy 500 next Sunday was his first NTT P1 Pole Award since the 2017 Indy 500. The last time he led the field to the green flag was at Gateway in 2018 after qualifying was rained out.
While Dixon sees it as just a starting position, his wife Emma, who was full of energetic joy after the pole-winning run, kept reminding him about the pole drought. Admittedly, he wasn’t sure how long it’s been since he led an IndyCar field to the green flag.
“I think it was probably my wife giving me the hardest time for not getting a pole for a while,” said Dixon. “As we all know, it doesn’t really matter where you start, it’s where you finish. That’s going to be the focus now. We’re starting in a great position. For us it was really the goal to get in the Fast Nine with the team, and they did that.”
Emma knew the confidence and even uncertainty of how qualifying would pan out was evident. It totally shows the sheer tenacity her husband has on getting the job done.
“It was amazing and huge. I know after so many years of doing this, maybe some people wouldn’t get so excited. But it’s massive to win the pole here at the Indy 500,” said Emma. “I couldn’t be more happy for him. Obviously, nervous but I knew he could do it.
“He just never gives up. Even today, he was unsure but still confident that he had the equipment. He just had to do what he had to do to win the pole.”
With four Indy 500 poles, Dixon is now in a four-way tie for second most poles. The other three being three-time Indy 500 winner and eighth place starter Helio Castroneves, two-time AAA champion Rex Mays, and four-time Indy 500 champ AJ Foyt.
Dixon added that scoring a pole at Indy is one of the toughest things to do. That’s when he thanked his entire No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing crew on putting together a strong Honda.
“Just how much work and effort goes into building these cars specifically for that pole run, it’s a lot of money and a lot of effort that it takes,” said Dixon. “We’ve been on the other side of it. We’ve had them before, but we’ve started well in the pack, too, where you can’t figure out why you’re in that position. Definitely feel goods for the team.
“I know the team is going to be proud of what we achieved today. Again, it’s just the starting position. We have to work on the rest.”
Chip Ganassi Racing now has six Indy 500 poles and for the boss man, it never gets old having one of his cars leading the 33-car field to the green flag. Even sweeter when his other three cars driven by Tony Kanaan (starting fifth), Alex Palou (sixth) and Marcus Ericsson (ninth) also made the Fast Nine.
“It’s a total team effort. Great week of practice coming off the grand prix last week. They all work together great. We got all four in the Fast Nine which is a huge accomplishment for the team. Really proud of everyone,” said Ganassi.
Qualifying is now in the books, thus the mindset shifts on next Sunday’s 105th Indy 500. Ganassi hasn’t won the race since Dario Franchitti in 2012 and Dixon has gone 12 years since his last triumph. Some would say both team owner and pole sitter are due for another 500 victory, but Ganassi’s comment summed everything up.
“This place doesn’t owe anybody everything. It’s one of those place where you have to earn everything. The focus now shifts to the race next Sunday. Texas was a good indication (on our performance), but it’s hard to say. We got some work to do.”
Live coverage of the Indy 500 begins at 11:00 am ET on NBC. Takuma Sato is the defending race winner.
105th Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Results
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.3837 (231.685 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.4034 (231.655)
3. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.5000 (231.511)
4. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.5047 (231.504)
5. (48) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8229 (231.032)
6. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1039 (230.616)
7. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1827 (230.499)
8. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.2804 (230.355)
9. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.3054 (230.318)
10. (27) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8132 (231.046)
11. (18) Ed Jones, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8148 (231.044)
12. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.9360 (230.864)
13. (51) Pietro Fittipaldi, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.9481 (230.846)
14. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.0168 (230.744)
15. (30) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.0417 (230.708)
16. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1395 (230.563)
17. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.1435 (230.557)
18. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1680 (230.521)
19. (47) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.2314 (230.427)
20. (60) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.3922 (230.191)
21. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.4735 (230.071)
22. (1) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.5354 (229.980)
23. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.5563 (229.949)
24. (86) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.5961 (229.891)
25. (98) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.6089 (229.872)
26. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.6732 (229.778)
27. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.6964 (229.744)
28. (25) Stefan Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.7166 (229.714)
29. (59) Max Chilton, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.9195 (229.417)
30. (4) Dalton Kellett, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.6717 (228.323)
31. (24) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.0982 (229.156)
32. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.2905 (228.876)
33. (16) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.6504 (228.353)