Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou Wins Pole For the Indy 500

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 21 2023

Alex Palou will start the 500 P1. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)


Alex Palou will start the 2023 Indianapolis 500 from the pole after posting the top qualifying run in Sunday’s field-setting Fast Six Qualifying session.

Palou had a four-lap average speed of 234.217 mph. That topped the highest pole speed ever for the 500, which was set a year ago by Scott Dixon.

The Spaniard, driving the No. 10 Honda, gave team owner Chip Ganassi a third straight pole in the 500.

Dutchman Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing was second fastest in the Fast Six run as he posted an effort of 234.114 mph in his Chevrolet and will start the 500 from the middle of the first row.

Felix Rosenqvist, driving the No. 6 McLarren Chevy will start on the outside of Row 1 after qualifying at 235.114 mph in his four-lap run.

Santino Ferrucci driving the iconic No. 14 car, put team owner A.J. Foyt Racing’s machine on the inside of the second row with an effort at 233.661 mph.

Pato O’Ward will start in the middle of Row 2 after he drove his McLaren Chevrolet to qualifying effort of 233.158 mph.

Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, attempting to win a third-straight pole, came up short on Sunday. His average qualifying speed was 231.151 mph landed him the outside of Row 2 in his No. 9 Honda.

“It means the world to me now,” Palou said. “It was really tight, but the 10 car crew did an amazing job. Super proud of the work they did all month, all year to get to this point. We knew we had to go aggressive, to trim the car a lot to get a good first lap and try to be consistent. The fourth lap was really tough to keep it flat, but we did it. I knew it was one chance only.”

First up on Sunday at the speedway was Fast 12 Qualifying. Competing were the top 12 cars which qualified on Day 1 – Saturday.  Half of those cars moved into cars moved into the Fast Six and will man the first two rows at the start of Sunday’s race.

Between Fast 12 and Fast Six qualifying was Last Chance Qualifying, which feature the slowest four cars from Saturday who competed for the final three spots in the 33-car starting field. Featured were Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey, Graham Rahal – all of whom are teammates at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – and Sting Ray Robb. All four were driving Honda-powered cars.

Harvey was slowest of the four after they all made attempts. He took a slow lap late in 1-hour session in an attempt to cool his engine and then took two more shots in the final minutes. The first attempt was too slow but the second put him in the show.

Rahal came up a hundredth of a second short of making the field while teammates Harvey and Katherine Legge are in.

“We just came up short,” Rahal said, voice trembling. “This place, it doesn’t come easy. And it doesn’t just happen. We weren’t good enough. We were the slowest of our cars just on pure pace all week.”

With that, he went teary-eyed to his car, sat on the side pod, and fell into the arms of wife Brittany Force.

A subdued Harvey said, “Don’t want to knock a teammate out.”

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 21 2023
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