Indianapolis 500: Scott Dixon edges Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay to claim fourth Brickyard pole
Scott Dixon will start on pole for the Indianapolis 500 after defeating young rivals Colton Herta and Rinus VeeKay on the last run of Fast Nine Qualifying; Full 33-car grid confirmed; Watch Indy 500 live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday, May 30
By Associated Press
Last Updated: 24/05/21 10:30am
Scott Dixon slammed the brakes on IndyCar's current youth movement by claiming his fourth Indianapolis 500 pole by a mere 0.03 seconds on Sunday.
The six-time IndyCar champion was the ninth and final driver to make his four-lap qualifying attempt around the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he had to beat a pair of IndyCar's rising young stars to grab the pole.
Colton Herta, the 21-year-old American, and Rinus Veekay, the 20-year-old Dutchman, were sitting at the top of the leaderboard before Dixon, the combined age of his two rivals, held his nerve.
Dixon's average four-lap speed of 231.685mph was enough to knock Herta (231.665) to second. That equated to 0.03 seconds, or roughly six feet over the 10-mile qualifying run.
Veekay's 231.511mph average speed earned the final spot on the front row.
The Indianapolis 500 - dubbed the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing' - is live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday, May 30, with green light for the race at 5.45pm.
Four Chip Ganassi cars made it to the final 'Fast Nine' portion of qualifying but Dixon, who won the 2008 Indy 500 and has been runner-up three times, didn't want any feedback from his team-mates before making his pivotal last run.
"I was definitely pretty nervous," said Dixon. "You're just trying to stay as calm as possible. For me, I think probably for all of us, the best situation for us is actually just being in the car and doing what we really enjoy, what we love.
"The nerves are all about just that competition level is just through the roof right now."
Herta, who is rapidly becoming a star in the series, didn't complain about being bumped by Dixon.
"I just can't wait for next Sunday, we've got a good race car," Herta said. "Second place is not too bad of a place to start."
Honda rolled into the Fast Nine qualifying session with seven drivers compared to two for rival Chevrolet. But VeeKay and team owner Ed Carpenter qualified third and fourth with Chevy power.
Lining up next to Carpenter on the second row will be Tony Kanaan, at 46 the oldest driver in the field, and Alex Palou. Kanaan and Palou are Dixon's teammates at Ganassi, as is Marcus Ericsson, who qualified ninth.
Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti was seventh and Helio Castroneves eighth for Meyer Shank Racing.
The first three rows account for six Indy 500 wins and eight series championships among four drivers - proving veteran experience still matters at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"It's very weird that the guy starting ahead of me was wearing diapers when I started my first Indy 500," Kanaan said of VeeKay, who will be the youngest driver to start the Indy 500 in its 105 runnings.
In a 75-minute shootout for the final three spots in the field held right before the Fast Nine session, Sage Karam, Will Power and Simona de Silvestro made the race. Charlie Kimball and R.C. Enerson were knocked from the 33-car field.
Power qualified 32nd despite hitting the wall on his last lap.
McLaren's Pato O'Ward, Felix Rosenqvist and Juan Pablo Montoya - the legendary ex-F1 driver returning for another crack at the Brickyard - will line up 12th, 14th and 24th respectively.
Full starting grid for the Indianapolis 500
|1. Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|2. Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport|
|3. Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|4. Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|5. Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|6. Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|7. Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport|
|8. Helio Castroneves||Meyer Shank Racing|
|9. Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|10. Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport|
|11. Ed Jones||Dale Coyne Racing|
|12. Pato O'Ward||Arrow McLaren|
|13. Pietro Fittipaldi||Dale Coyne Racing|
|14. Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren|
|15. Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|16. James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport|
|17. Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske|
|18. Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|19. Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|20. Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing|
|21. Josef Newgarden||Team Penske|
|22. J R Hildebrand||A.J Foyt Racing|
|23. Santino Ferrucci||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|24. Juan Pablo Montoya||Arrow McLaren|
|25. Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta-Haupert|
|26. Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske|
|27. Sebastien Bourdais||A.J Foyt Racing|
|28. Stefan Wilson||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport|
|29. Max Chilton||Carlin|
|30. Dalton Kellet||A.J Foyt Racing|
|31. Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing|
|32. Will Power||Team Penske|
|33. Simona de Silvestro||Peretta Autosport|