Despite wind gusts upwards of 15 mph or more, Marco Andretti becomes the first Andretti in 33 years to win the pole position for the 104th Indianapolis 500 with a four lap average of 231.068 mph.
The qualifying order was decided with the slowest of the fast nine going first, meaning Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Takuma Sato was the first driver out to set a time. The 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner had an incredibly consistent performance that would put him on pole for majority of the session with a four-lap average of 230.725 mph. He would end the session third, his best ever Indy 500 starting position.
Sato’s teammate Graham Rahal went out second, and fought a loose car all run. On his last lap, Rahal had to get out of the gas in turn one on his final lap, killing his average. He would finish eighth with a 229.380 mph average.
After Rahal would be the first of the rookies in the fast nine, Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh‘s Alex Palou. Palou had a brilliant first few laps, reacing 240 mph multiple times on the frontstretch. However, problems with the weight jacker, which drivers use to make adjustments to the car during the lap, was not working and hampered what could have been an incredible run. The Spaniard would finish the session seventh with an average of 229.676 mph.
19 year old Rinus Veekay was out next, and put his Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet provisionally second at the time. The only Chevrolet in the fast nine, he would finish the session fourth in a brilliant display with an average of 230.704 mph. This would be the highest starting position for a rookie since Carlos Munoz started second in 2013.
After Veekay would be three-time Indy 500 pole-sitter Scott Dixon, who absolutely dominated on his run. With his first two laps in the 231 mph range, Dixon would topple Sato and take provisional pole with an average of 231.051 mph.
After Dixon, it was time for the Andretti Autosport machines to hit the track. First up was James Hinchcliffe, who put together a respectable 229.870 mph average despite fighting a loose car and the difficult winds. He would finish the session
Alexander Rossi had a Sunday to forget, one full mile per hour slower than Dixon on his first lap and the 2016 Indy 500 winner would continue to lose almost a full mile per hour a lap. He would finish last in the fast nine with a 229.234 mph average, but that means he’s still starting on the front three rows.
Taking what he learned from his teammates, Ryan Hunter-Reay took notes from his teammates prior and had a solid run, very close to Dixon early in his run, but lost in with the fall off at the end, and couldn’t make the front row. He will start fifth.
Finally, it was time for Marco Andretti. The Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian No. 98 machine went toe to toe with Scott Dixon, matching the five-time champion every single lap, with his 231.068 mph average only giving him pole by only 0.017 mph!
The team’s focus will now shift to practice later today and of course the big race next Sunday.
Fast Nine Qualifying Results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||TOTAL TIME||AVERAGE SPEED|
|1||98||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport w/ Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian||02:35.7985||231.068|
|2||9||Scott Dixon||NZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||02:35.8098||231.051|
|3||30||Takuma Sato||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||02:36.0300||230.725|
|4||21||Rinus VeeKay (R)||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||02:36.0438||230.704|
|5||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||02:36.0818||230.648|
|6||29||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Andretti Autosport||02:36.6103||229.87|
|7||55||Alex Palou (R)||ESP||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Team Goh||02:36.7425||229.676|
|8||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||02:36.9450||229.38|
|9||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||02:37.0446||229.234|