|Photo Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar|
The 33-car starting grid for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 is now set ahead of the May 30th event with drivers representing 17 countries. Perhaps the most coveted single pole position in auto racing, the prime starting spot for the Indianapolis 500 is something a driver has a week to bask in the honour. For what will be the 105th running of the greatest spectacle in racing, New Zealander superstar Scott Dixon claimed the prestigious pole at the 2.5-mile speedway.
His fourth time taking the first place spot, Scott Dixon and his #9 PNC Bank-sponsored Chip Ganassi Racing car succeeded in topping competitors in the contentious Fast Nine Qualifying session. In his four-lap/ten-mile time trial run, Dixon sailed around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an average lap speed of 21.685 miles per hour or total time of 2 minutes and 35.3837 seconds. Dixon’s 19th showing in the Indianapolis 500 has the 40-year-old, six-time IndyCar Series champion narrowly beating 21-year-old Colton Herta for the pole position for the 2021 race. The pole position is the sixth for the Chip Ganassi Racing organization with the team’s first coming in 1993 with Arie Luyendyk.
|Photo Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar|
With the Honda-powered #9 car being the fastest entry prior to the Fast Nine Qualifying competition, Scott Dixon was assigned the last qualifying attempt for which is he was .0197 seconds quicker than the #26 Andretti Autosport entry of Colton Herta over the four-lap final run. Though Dixon’s final two laps were slower than Herta, the #9 car’s blistering fast first lap of 38.6669 seconds (average lap speed of 232.757 miles per hour) would largely cement the pole position for the New Zealander. The gap between Dixon and Herta is broader than last year’s qualifying results where Marco Andretti claimed pole with a 0.0113-second advantage. The record for the closest margin of all-time between the first and second place cars is set in 2012 where Ryan Briscoe edged out James Hinchcliffe for pole by a slim 0.0023 seconds on the stop watch.
Being the Indianapolis 500, the third fastest qualifier also earns the right to start on the front row of the race. This year, Dutch driver Rinus VeeKay concludes to impress in his sophomore performance on the NTT IndyCar Series by qualifying third on the grid. The strong effort netting the front row starting spot for the driver of the #21 Ed Carpenter Racing car came a week after he won his first series victory in the GMR Grand Prix held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. VeeKay will be the highest Chevrolet-powered starter for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 and was only one of two entered in the Fast Nine Qualifying session. The other vehicle running a Chevrolet engine in the top-nine at Indy is VeeKay’s team owner Ed Carpenter who will take the green flag in fourth place.
In addition to presiding as the car owner of the pole-winning car, Chip Ganassi had a lot to be happy about relating to his superteam as a whole. Tony Kanaan placed in fifth, Alex Palou in sixth and Marcus Ericsson are ninth on the grid for the 2021 Indianapolis 500.
Other notable drivers starting in the middle of the field include Alexander Rossi in tenth place and reigning Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato who will start the 2021 edition of the race in 15th spot one spot ahead of Canada’s James Hinchcliffe. Sato’s Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal was 18th fastest, Josef Newgarden is 21st and Marco Andretti is 25th. Two rookies will start the 2021 Indianapolis 500 with Pietro Fittipaldi (grandson of two-time race winner Emerson Fittipaldi) starting highest on the grid in 13th place. Scott McLaughlin will take the field for his first Indy 500 in 17th place and is the highest-placed Team Penske entry on the starting grid.
|Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski/IndyCar|
Through Last Chance Qualifying, Sage Karam for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Will Power for Team Penske and Simona de Silvestro driving the car for Paretta Autosport secured the final row of the 33-car grid. Missing the 2021 Indianapolis 500 will be Charlie Kimball and R.C. Enerson.
2021 Indianapolis 500 Starting Lineup
|Starting Spot||Car #||Driver||Driver's Home Country||Team/Organization||Engine|
|1||9||Scott Dixon||New Zealand||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda|
|2||26||Colton Herta||United States||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|3||21||Rinus VeeKay||Netherlands||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet|
|4||20||Ed Carpenter||United States||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet|
|5||48||Tony Kanaan||Brazil||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda|
|6||10||Alex Palou||Spain||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda|
|7||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||United States||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|8||06||Helio Castroneves||Brazil||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda|
|9||8||Marcus Ericsson||Sweden||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda|
|10||27||Alexander Rossi||United States||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|11||18||Ed Jones||United Arab Emirates||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan||Honda|
|12||5||Pato O'Ward||Mexico||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet|
|13||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||Brazil||Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing||Honda|
|14||7||Felix Rosenqvist||Sweden||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet|
|15||30||Takuma Sato||Japan||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda|
|16||29||James Hinchcliffe||Canada||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|17||3||Scott McLaughlin||New Zealand||Team Penske||Chevrolet|
|18||15||Graham Rahal||United States||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda|
|19||47||Conor Daly||United States||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet|
|20||60||Jack Harvey||United Kingdom||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda|
|21||2||Josef Newgarden||United States||Team Penske||Chevrolet|
|22||1||J.R. Hildebrand||United States||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet|
|23||45||Santino Ferrucci||United States||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda|
|24||86||Juan Pablo Montoya||Columbia||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevrolet|
|25||98||Marco Andretti||United States||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|26||22||Simon Pagenaud||France||Team Penske||Chevrolet|
|27||14||Sebastian Bourdais||France||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet|
|28||25||Stefan Wilson||United Kingdom||Andretti Autosport||Honda|
|29||59||Max Chilton||United Kingdom||Carlin||Chevrolet|
|30||4||Dalton Kellett||Canada||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet|
|31||24||Sage Karam||United States||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet|
|32||12||Will Power||Australia||Team Penske||Chevrolet|
|33||16||Simona de Silvestro||Swizerland||Paretta Autosport||Chevrolet|