Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Scott Dixon Takes 99th Indy 500 Pole Position

Photo Credit: Chris Jones

The Indianapolis 500 is set to take place for the 99th time as a Memorial Day weekend classic. Prior to racing for 500 miles on the famed 2.5-mile oval track, Verizon IndyCar drivers need to qualify for the event. To earn their starting positions, Honda and Chevrolet supported race machines would be set loose for a four-lap qualifying run with the pole position being the most coveted spot.

For 2015, the qualifying format at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's most prestigious event underwent a forced restructuring. Persistent rain soaking the bricks Saturday prevented the planned qualifying format for the Indianapolis 500. After rescheduling all qualifying activity for Sunday, Ed Carpenter's crash in a morning practice caused another revision to the Indy 500 time trials. While Carpenter did not suffer injury from the accident, a late decision was made to amend the technical guidelines for the qualifying. Teams were originally set to qualify with a modified aerodynamic setup that differed from a race configuration. However, after the third incident where a vehicle left the ground at the speedway in less than a week, IndyCar required teams to run the race day aerodynamic setup for qualifying. This resulted in slower lap times but provided an extra level of safety as the time trials took place. Due to the revision to the qualifying rules, qualifying was further condensed with the elimination of the Fast Nine session meaning drivers will receive just one chance to post a pole-winning time.

Despite an early draw, Scott Dixon and the #9 Target car owned by Chip Ganassi Racing captured the pole position for Sunday's great race. Producing a four-lap run at an average speed of 226.760 miles per hour taking 2 minutes, 38.7579 seconds to compete, Dixon beat out the always formidable contention of Team Penske race cars by Will Power. The gap between Scott Dixon and Will Power equates to just 0.2879 seconds over the four-lap qualifying run. Dixon's second pole for the Indy 500 is the fourth in team history for Chip Ganassi Racing. The last time the New Zealander captured pole at the 500-mile race, he won. There have been 18 occasions where the 500-mile race was won from the pole. Only two drivers, Rick Mears and Johnny Rutherford have been able to accomplish the feat more than once.

Filling the first row of the 2015 Indianapolis 500 will be Simon Pagenaud driving the #22 Penske Chevrolet joining his teammate Will Power's #1 car. The remainder of Roger Penske's four-car team for 2015 qualifying for the Indy 500 consists of Helio Castroneves in fifth and Juan-Pablo Montoya will start 15th. Castroneves and Montoya combines for four wins in the prestigious race. As a car owner, Roger Penske has been to victory lane a record 15 times. However, "The Captain's" last win at the speedway's 500-mile classic came in 2009.

Backing up the Chip Ganassi Racing contingent at the front of the 2015 Indy 500 field, 2013 winner of the Borg-Warner Trophy Tony Kanaan grabbed fifth place. 2015 qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 is the fourth time a Chevrolet-powered entry took pole. In fact, Sunday's session saw the top-five cars running both engines and aero kits attached with the bowtie badge.

The first placed Honda powered machine was wheeled by Justin Wilson for Andretti Autosport. Wilson has signed for the two Indy races of May that started with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis road race. Wilson will lead the charge of a five-car Andretti Autosport effort determined to defend their 2014 race win. The reigning Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay placed 16th in qualifying for Sunday.

Two Canadian drivers qualified for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Alex Tagliani was a late addition to the A.J. Foyt Racing effort that expanded to three cars. Tagliani qualified in a respectable 22nd place spot in the #48 car. James Hinchcliffe clocked into the field in 24th place with his #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports car.

With 34 entries competing for 33 positions, one driver was bound to miss out on starting the 2015 event. The 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier was unable to qualify for this year's race.


2015 Indianapolis 500

Starting Grid



Position Car # Driver/Place of Origin Sponsor/Car/Team Average Speed
1 9 Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 226.760
2 1 Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Verizon Team Penske 226.350
3 22 Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske 226.145
4 10 Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 225.503
5 3 Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Shell V-Power Nitro+ Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske 225.502
6 25 Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Andretti Autosport Honda Andretti Autosport 225.279
7 11 Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France Hydroxycut-HAUS Vaporizer KVSH Chevrolet KVSH Racing 225.193
8 27 Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pa. Snapple Honda Andretti Autosport 225.189
9 21 Josef Newgarden Hendersonville, Tenn. Century 21 CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing 225.187
10 6 JR Hildebrand Sausalito, Calif Preferred Freezer CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing 225.099
11 26 Carlos Munoz Bogotá, Colombia AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda Andretti Autosport 225.042
12 20 Ed Carpenter Indianapolis, Ind. Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet CFH Racing 224.883
13 32 Oriol Servia Pals, Spain Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 224.777
14 83 Charlie Kimball Camarillo, Calif. Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 224.743
15 2 Juan Pablo Montoya Bogotá, Colombia Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet Team Penske 224.657
16 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay Fort Lauderdale, Fla. DHL Honda Andretti Autosport 224.573
17 15 Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio Steak 'n Shake Honda Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 224.290
18 18 Carlos Huertas Bogotá, Colombia Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing 224.233
19 29 Simona de Silvestro Thun, Switzerland TE Connectivity Honda Andretti Autosport 223.838
20 7 James Jakes Leeds, England Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 223.790
21 19 Tristan Vautier Bogotá, Colombia Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing 223.747
22 48 Alex Tagliani Lechenaie, Quebec Alfe Heat Treating Special Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises 223.722
23 8 Sage Karam Nazareth, Pa. Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 223.595
24 5 James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 223.519
25 43 Conor Daly Noblesville, Ind. FUELED by BACON Special Honda Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 223.482
26 24 Townsend Bell San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Robert Graham Special Chevrolet Dreyer & Reinbold - Kingdom Racing 223.447
27 14 Takuma Sato Tokyo, Japan ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises 223.226
28 63 Pippa Mann Ipswich, England Dale Coyne Racing Honda Dale Coyne Racing 223.104
29 98 Gabby Chaves (R) Bogotá, Colombia Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda BHA with Curb-Agajanian 222.916
30 8 Sebastian Saavedra Bogotá, Colombia AFS Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Chip Ganassi Racing Teams 222.898
31 41 Jack Hawksworth Bradford, England ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda A.J. Foyt Enterprises 223.738
32 4 Stefano Coletti (R) Monaco, Monaco KV Racing Technology Chevrolet KV Racing Technology 222.001
33 88 Bryan Clauson Noblesville, Ind. Jonathan Byrd's/Cancer Centers of America Chevrolet KVSH/Jonathan Byrd's Racing 221.358

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