|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
|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|