By Christopher DeHarde, IndyCar & Road to Indy Writer
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana- Predictions ahead of qualifications for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 can be difficult to make. Many teams didn’t show their complete hand in practice while others have all of their cards on the table. Either way, an attempt will be made at predicting qualifying results.
Last Row (in no particular order): Buddy Lazier, Jack Harvey and Zach Veach
Lazier was seven mph slower than the next slowest car. Harvey has had numerous issues since day one and Veach had an incident during Fast Friday that might put him behind the metaphorical 8-ball.
First three drivers outside the Fast Nine (in no particular order): Jay Howard, Josef Newgarden and Marco Andretti
Howard was fastest during Thursday’s practice session but without a tow, it’s difficult to measure. Newgarden was 24th fastest in Fast Friday and usually has been quick at Indianapolis but with 11 Hondas in the top 12 runners, the odds are stacked against many Penske runners. As for Andretti, it’s been an annual tradition for some form of bad luck to hit him. This year, it might happen in qualifying.
Fast Nine, not including front row (in no particular order): Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Fernando Alonso, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Juan Pablo Montoya
Bourdais was fastest on Fast Friday, Castronves has four poles so he should be competitive, Dixon has two poles and was second fastest on Wednesday. Alonso has been very fast this month but I don’t see him cracking the front row. Hunter-Reay has been fast as well but I place him on the second row. As for Montoya, He was the fastest Chevrolet in Fast Friday at fifth fastest.
Front row (in no particular order): Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Takuma Sato
Carpenter has won the pole at Indianapolis twice while Power has three front row starts with no poles. In fact, Power has started in the top two rows in every 500 since starting second in 2010. Sato hasn’t started above 10th in his time at Indianapolis but is with a team that has shown pace.