Indy 500 Qualifying: Dixon breaks pole speed record for top spot start

Indy Qualifying: Dixon on pole, breaks Indy speed record

Scott Dixon used a breathtaking run of more than 234 mph to post the fastest Indianapolis 500 pole run in history. The New Zealander will lead the field to green in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the fifth time in his career.

Considered the best driver of his generation, Dixon turned four laps on Sunday at an average of 234.046 mph around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His average broke Scott Brayton’s pole-winning record set in 1996 of 233.718 mph.

Arie Luyendyk holds the four-lap qualifying record of 236.986 mph, also done in 1996, but not in a run for the pole. That means Dixon’s qualifying run was the second fastest in 106 runs of the most prestigious race in the world.

Dixon’s first lap was an eye-popping 234.437 mph and drew a roar from the fans. His second lap was 234.162 and wife Emma bent over the pit wall in amazement, her hands covering her mouth. Dixon’s drop-off from there was miniscule: his fourth and final lap was 233.726 as his consistency gave Chip Ganassi Racing its seventh Indy 500 pole.

Dixon also started from the pole in 2008 when he scored his only Indy 500 win, as well as 2015, 2017 and last year.

“That’s what this place is about, the ups and downs that you have just in one day, it’s crazy,” said Dixon. His hands were shaking following his first run earlier Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson didn’t make it from round 12

Ganassi advanced all five of his drivers into the two-round qualifying shootout to determine the starting order for the first three rows for next week’s race. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson needed a massive save in the first turn of his first lap and didn’t advance out of the round of 12.

But Dixon did, along with his other three Honda-powered teammates. That made it Dixon, reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson and Tony Kanaan in a head-to-head “Fast Six” shootout against Chevrolet-powered teammates Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay.

“This is what real competitors want, true competitors want this,” Ganassi said before the session. “This is a moment made for champions.”

VeeKay on Saturday had posted the third-fastest qualifying run in track history but didn’t have enough for Dixon’s big, big laps. Palou, who averaged 233.499, qualified second alongside his teammate and VeeKay was third at 233.385.

Carpenter was fourth and followed by Ericsson and Kanaan, who at 232.372 was the slowest of the final six shootout. But even the slowest cars were flying around Indy, which hasn’t seen speeds like these since 1996.

Kanaan’s lap would have been the eighth-fastest qualifying run in the record books written before the drivers rewrote history this weekend.

2022 Indy 500 Starting Grid

Pos Num Driver Team Engine
1 9 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
2 10 Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
3 21 Rinus VeeKay Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
4 33 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
5 8 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
6 1 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
7 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet
8 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet
9 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Autosport Honda
10 51 Takuma Sato Dale Coyne Racing Honda
11 12 Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
13 18 David Malukas Dale Coyne Racing Honda
14 2 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet
15 23 Santino Ferrucci Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
16 60 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Racing Honda
17 11 JR Hildebrand AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet
18 20 Conor Daly Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
19 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet
20 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda
21 15 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
22 24 Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet
23 98 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Honda
24 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Autosport Honda
25 26 Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda
26 3 Scott McLaughlin Team Penske Chevrolet
27 06 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Honda
28 14 Kyle Kirkwood AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet
29 4 Dalton Kellett AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet
30 6 Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren SP Chevrolet
31 30 Christian Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
32 45 Jack Harvey Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
33 25 Stefan Wilson DragonSpeed/Cusick Motorsports Chevrolet