INDYCAR: Dixon Wins Third Indianapolis 500 Pole With 232 MPH Run

Jacob Seelman Featured, Month of May, Verizon IndyCar Series 0 Comments

Scott Dixon celebrates with the Verizon P1 Award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. (Chris Jones/IndyCar photo)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Scott Dixon became the modern-era speed king at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Crown Royal Armed Forces Pole Day on Sunday, winning the pole for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Dixon scored his third-career Indianapolis 500 pole with the fastest four-lap average speed since Arie Luyendyk’s all-time track record run (236.986 mph) in 1996, posting a mark of 232.164 mph in his No. 9 NTT Data/Camping World Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

The Verizon P1 Award is the 26th of Dixon’s career, breaking a tie with Paul Tracy for 11th all-time.

“This feels damn good,” said Dixon, who was the seventh driver to take time in the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout. “Chris (Simmons) trimmed the car out … and before I went out, I went, ‘Man, I think we’ve trimmed too much. Should we put some more downforce in the car?’ But it worked out perfectly.”

“I did have to lift a little bit, but that first lap was just huge. This team has worked so hard and the season has started off great for us. … The emotions you have here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are so crazy, and we felt them all today.”

Dixon won his first Indianapolis 500 from the pole in 2008, and will be seeking his third victory in the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ on May 28.

“This was just job one. The real deal is coming up in a week’s time, and that’s where we’ve got to push even harder and try to capitalize even more.”

“The pole is its own race here. It is its own weekend, its own deal … and the significance of winning the pole is big as well, but we’re here to win the race. Back in 2008 I did win the race from the pole, so hopefully we can replicate that here.”

By virtue of his qualifying performance, and the 42-point haul that comes with it, Dixon carries the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead into next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500. He now sits 21 markers up on Simon Pagenaud.

Day one qualifying leader Ed Carpenter picked up a full mile per hour from his average speed on Saturday, making a four-lap run of 231.664 mph, but fell short of Dixon’s mark and will start second in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet.

Carpenter’s first lap of 232.180 mph had him tracking ahead of Dixon in the early going, but the late fall-off for the two-time Indianapolis 500 pole winner was too much to overcome.

“I heard the crowd first, and I knew it was a pretty big number,” admitted Carpenter, who was the fastest of the three Chevrolet drivers that made the Fast Nine. “If you would have told me I was going to average what I did, I would have thought that would have won the pole, honestly.”

“I’m happy for the team; we’ve got a car on the front row and a car on the second row … but when I saw Dixon’s time I knew it was going to be hard to beat, and he got us this time.”

Defending race champion Alexander Rossi will complete the front row, starting from the outside lane after a four-lap run averaging 231.487 mph in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts Honda.

Rossi hopes to become the first back-to-back Indianapolis 500 winner since Helio Castroneves accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002.

Takuma Sato brushed the wall on the final lap of his qualifying attempt, but still ended up fourth-fastest at an average speed of his 231.365 mph.

Two-time Formula 1 champion and race rookie Fernando Alonso continued his amazing show of pace at Indianapolis on Sunday, landing fifth on the grid with a run that briefly held the provisional pole.

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