Dixon wins pole for 99th Indianapolis 500

3 Comments

Scott Dixon was the fourth driver out in qualifying for the 99th Indianapolis 500, and despite a nearly eternal wait as 30 other drivers took a shot at his speed, he was not dethroned.

The pole is Dixon’s second in the ‘500, to go along with his pole achieved in 2008. That year also marked his first and thus far only win in the race. It is Chip Ganassi Racing’s fourth (1993, Arie Luyendyk, 2002, Bruno Junqueira, 2008, Dixon).

It has also ended a run of eight consecutive pole positions for Team Penske in the Verizon IndyCar Series, dating to Milwaukee last year.

Qualifying morphed into a single, one-shot deal for each of the 34 drivers attempting to qualify after weather and later aero specification delays pushed the session to late Sunday afternoon.

Dixon was fourth out, and knocked off Ed Carpenter from the pole position as Carpenter went out in a backup car after his accident in practice this morning. That removed any shot for Carpenter to win his third straight pole position.

Dixon’s fastest lap of 227.041 mph was the only qualifying lap over 227 all day, and his four-lap average was 226.760 mph.

Each of Team Penske’s four drivers – Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya – took their shot at Dixon but was unable to knock off the driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Power, Pagenaud, Castroneves and Montoya ended second, third, fifth and 15th on the day.

Chevrolets dominated the qualifying session, with Justin Wilson doing the best for Honda, ending sixth in the No. 25 Andretti Autosport entry at 225.279 mph.

The bottom four drivers – Jack Hawksworth, Stefano Coletti, Bryan Clauson and Buddy Lazier – will need to go back out for a second round of qualifying. Lazier’s car was not ready for the first go-around but will have an opportunity to bump in in the second round.

QUALIFYING SPEEDS

1. 9-Scott Dixon, 226.760
2. 1-Will Power, 226.350
3. 22-Simon Pagenaud, 226.145
4. 10-Tony Kanaan, 225.503
5. 3-Helio Castroneves, 225.502
6. 25-Justin Wilson, 225.279
7. 11-Sebastien Bourdais, 225.193
8. 27-Marco Andretti, 225.189
9. 21-Josef Newgarden, 225.187
10. 6-JR Hildebrand, 225.099
11. 26-Carlos Munoz, 225.042
12. 20T-Ed Carpenter, 224.883
13. 32-Oriol Servia, 224.777
14. 83-Charlie Kimball, 224.743
15. 2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 224.657
16. 28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 224.573
17. 15-Graham Rahal, 224.290
18. 18-Carlos Huertas, 224.233
19. 29-Simona de Silvestro, 223.838
20. 7-James Jakes, 223.790
21. 19-Tristan Vautier, 223.747
22. 48-Alex Tagliani, 223.722
23. 8-Sage Karam, 223.595
24. 5-James Hinchcliffe, 223.519
25. 43-Conor Daly, 223.482
26. 24-Townsend Bell, 223.447
27. 14-Takuma Sato, 223.226
28. 63-Pippa Mann, 223.104
29. 98-Gabby Chaves, 222.916
30. 17-Sebastian Saavedra, 222.898

SECOND ROUND ATTEMPTS REQUIRED
31. 41-Jack Hawksworth, 222.787
32. 4-Stefano Coletti, 221.912
33. 88-Bryan Clauson, 220.523
34. 91-Buddy Lazier, No Speed

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).