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Dixon Speeds To Pole Spot In 2022 Indianapolis 500

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 22 2022

Scott Dixon will start the 106th Indy 500 from the pole position. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

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Scott Dixon added to his standing as the greatest INDYCAR driver of this generation Sunday, earning his fifth career Indianapolis 500 pole with the fastest four-lap/10-mile average speed in the century-plus history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

As the last driver on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Firestone Fast Six, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion delivered with a four-lap average speed of 234.046 mph in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Dixon earned a $100,000 bonus for the NTT P1 Award and now is just one shy of four-time Indy champion Rick Mears for most poles in 500 history.

“That’s what this place is about; it’s so amazing,” Dixon said. “It’s crazy. This PNC Bank No. 9 crew and Honda, they brought it today. Just so happy for everybody.”

Dixon’s run broke the all-time pole record speed of 233.718 mph set in 1996 by the late Scott Brayton. Dutchman Arie Luyendyk set the all-time four-lap qualifying average speed record of 236.986 mph in 1996, but his run came on the second day of qualifications and wasn’t eligible for the pole.

Chip Ganassi Racing earned its first 1-2 start at Indianapolis since 2008 _ when Dixon scored his sole victory in the race from pole and the late Dan Wheldon started second _ as reigning series champion Alex Palou qualified second at 233.499 mph in the No. 10  Honda. Dixon and Palou, of Spain, led four Ganassi drivers in the Firestone Fast Six final qualifying session.

“To get five of our cars into the Fast 12 and four into the (Firestone Fast) Six, I hope Chip has a smile on his face,” Dixon said of his longtime boss. “That definitely deserves a smile.”

Rinus VeeKay of The Netherlands earned the last spot in the three-car front row for the second consecutive year, qualifying at 233.385 mph in the No. 21 Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing.

Dixon, Palou and VeeKay are sharing the fastest front row in Indy 500 history, with an average speed of 233.643 mph, breaking the record of 233.233 set in ‘96.

ECR owner/driver Ed Carpenter _ a three-time Indy 500 pole-winner _ will start fourth in the No. 33 Chevrolet after his run of 233.080 mph.

Chip Ganassi Racing put four of its five drivers into the first two rows. Marcus Ericsson of Sweden will start fifth after a run of 232.764 mph in the No. 8 Ganassi Racing Honda, with 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan of Brazil qualifying sixth at 232.372 mph in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The third and fourth rows were set during Top 12 qualifying, the first time-trial session of the afternoon.
Row Three consists of native Mexican Pato O’Ward (seventh) in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist (eighth) in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and Frenchman Romain Grosjean (ninth) in the No. 28 Honda. Formula One veteran Grosjean, of Andretti Autosport, is the highest-starting and fastest 500 rookie in the 33-car field.

The fourth row features two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato of Japan (10th) in the No. 51 Honda, 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power (11th) in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and 500 rookie Jimmie Johnson (12th) in the No. 48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Dixon opened the two rounds of qualifying by leading the Top 12 session _for the 12 quickest drivers during qualifying Saturday _ with a four-lap average speed of 233.510 mph. VeeKay was second at 233.429 mph.
Johnson produced the biggest show for the fans _ and elicited the most gasps from pit lane _ during Lap 1 of his four-lap run. His car veered toward the SAFER Barrier in Turn 2, and he narrowly avoided contact thanks to a major power slide at 230 mph, keeping control of his machine and finishing the run.

“Just trying to find that right balance in the race car,” Johnson said. “These guys are so good at what they do. In these trickier conditions, I just need more experience.” The Indy 500 will be Johnson’s second open-wheel, oval-track start. Johnson finished sixth in his INDYCAR oval debut in the XPEL 375 on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile layout in Fort Worth on March 20.

Next up is a two-hour practice session for all 33 starters from 1-3 p.m. (ET) today, with live coverage on Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network. The final practice before the race is booked for Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Miller Lite Carb Day.

The 106th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 29, with live coverage starting at 11 a.m. on NBC, Telemundo Deportes on Universo and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

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Results of PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying Sunday for the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge NTT IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with rank, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 02:33.8162 (234.046 mph)
2. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 02:34.1761 (233.499)
3. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 02:34.2516 (233.385)
4. (33) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:34.4532 (233.080)
5. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 02:34.6630 (232.764)
6. (1) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 02:34.9243 (232.372)
7. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 02:34.7022 (232.705)
8. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 02:35.0506 (232.182)
9. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 02:35.1729 (231.999)
10. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:35.3935 (231.670)
11. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:35.4846 (231.534)
12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 02:35.6664 (231.264)
13. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 02:35.4356 (231.607)
14. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:35.4541 (231.580)
15. (23) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 02:35.5019 (231.508)
16. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 02:35.6590 (231.275)
17. (11) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:35.7684 (231.112)
18. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 02:35.8451 (230.999)
19. (77) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 02:35.8707 (230.961)
20. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 02:35.9713 (230.812)
21. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:36.0022 (230.766)
22. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:36.2064 (230.464)
23. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:36.2875 (230.345)
24. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 02:36.3002 (230.326)
25. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 02:36.3620 (230.235)
26. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 02:36.4167 (230.154)
27. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 02:36.7741 (229.630)
28. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 02:36.9269 (229.406)
29. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 02:37.2628 (228.916)
30. (6) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:37.4655 (228.622)
31. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 02:38.5531 (227.053)
32. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 02:38.6944 (226.851)
33. (25) Stefan Wilson, Chevrolet, no time (no speed)

 

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 22 2022
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