The 106th Indianapolis 500 Miles Qualifying took place on May 21st and 22nd, with New Zealander Scott Dixon taking the pole position at Chip Ganassi Racing.
This pole position at the INDY500 makes his second consecutive year and his fifth career. At the same time, Honda won pole position for the third consecutive year in this traditional American race.
On Monday, the day after qualifying, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held its annual front row photo session from 7am. In American motorsport, the habit of taking pictures of drivers and teams with brilliant results on the spot has taken root, and there are so many stakeholders such as team owners and crews, sponsors and parts supply companies. Fits in the picture with the driver and the car. Shooting takes a long time, as it becomes even more important at big events like the INDY500. Dixon, who won pole position, Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), Dixon's teammate who was second in qualifying, and the driver who was third in qualifying appeared on the main straight with each machine and had a photo session for about an hour.
After this, the crew brought the car into the garage and set preparing for a two-hour practice session starting at 1:00 pm. In INDY500, the turbo boost pressure is increased, and the qualifying is contested with an engine that has 90 horsepower higher than the normal race, so the practice of running with the turbo boost for the final is scheduled even after the qualifying.
In the two-hour practice, which was held in conditions where the temperature was slightly higher than qualifying, all teams repeatedly adjusted the settings so that the car could be handled even better in group driving. They were practicing with full tank to an empty tank, checking on fuel economy, wearing on tires an change of maneuverability.
Palou who qualified for 2nd place had the fastest lap in this practice. He drove only 31 laps, but he recorded 39.2257 second = average speed 229.441mph on the third lap. And second was Dixon, who gave the best of 229.000mph. He, who won the 2008 INDY500, drove only 32 laps today. We can take it as he has a huge confidence towards the setting for the final race.
INDY500 rookie Jimmie Johnson (Chip Ganassi Racing) marked the third fastest speed. He drove 67 laps to get used to his car and course better. Johnson marked an average of 228.467mph per lap, the fastest lap at the near the end of the session. Chip Ganassi Racing, which put all five entries into Fast 12 in qualifying and four of them in Fast 6, showed the same speed in Monday's practice running on machines with racing settings. This performance led dominating Top 3 places.
4th was Takuma Sato (Dale Coyne Racing with RWR) who recorded an average of 228.381mph on the 87th lap of his run, and 5th was Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing). Honda dominated the top five in this practice. While the top four were Chip Ganassi Racing drivers, Sato broke in between them. Chip Ganassi Racing, which was in great shape, could even occupy the top five with five entries, but Tony Kanaan (Chip Ganassi Racing) finished the practice session in 22nd place.
Applause and cheers were sent from a large number of fans who were gathering at the Speedway despite Monday for Sato's performance, which was in 4th place to break into the Ganassi team. Sato, who has won two INDY500 races, attaches great importance to the practice after qualifying, and made 106 laps for the final race. Rookie David Marcus (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports), a teammate of Sato who was able to improve the setting of the machine according to his aim and achieved a good result of 13th place in the qualifying, also collected data around 91 laps.
Today's practice was a cool condition with a maximum temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. It is forecast that the heat will exceed 30 degrees Celsius seven days after the final race. We probably won’t be able to see same kind of speed which drivers showed during practice in final race. Whoever set the best setting during the final will compete for the championship at the 106th traditional event INDY500.
Friday, two days before the final race is called Curve Day and the final practice, which is the final run before the final race, will be held. The running time will be 2 hours, the same as today, and the final adjustments for the final race will be made.