Instead of two days and multiple sessions to put his best lead foot forward for the Indianapolis 500 pole, Scott Dixon had four laps and a long wait.
At the end of it, Scott Dixon is “starting in the right place.”
A four-lap average of 226.760 mph put Dixon on the pole of the 99th Indianapolis 500, giving him his first pole in a Verizon IndyCar Series race since Iowa last year. It is his second Indy 500 pole after earning it in 2008 and going on to claim the Indy 500 win.
“Just so proud of everyone at Team Target, everybody that works so hard to get the speed out of this car,” Dixon told ESPN. “It was definitely a tough day. I’m stoked. Extremely happy that we’re on the pole. I wasn’t sure, since we went so early, that it was going to stick.
The achievement became official roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes after he made his run around the 2.5-mile track.
The celebration began to build when everyone realized his Chip Ganassi teammate, Sage Karam, wouldn’t have enough to knock him down a peg.
Even more impressive is that it came after INDYCAR mandated all teams would race in the aero trim they would qualify with.
“I haven’t been in that situation before,” Dixon said. “I can’t exactly remember how 2008 played out. I don’t think we went that early. Knowing that we lost the Fast Nine…there’s no second chance, that was it. You had a 30 minute practice to combine your best effort with the new configuration that we had.”
Toward the end of the session, Dixon watched the remaining car’s qualifying attempts from pit road. But for some time he watched from the garage with teammate Tony Kanaan.
“TK was some good humor back in the truck as we were watching some of the other competitors go,” Dixon said.
The pole also puts an end to the domination of the Verizon P1 Award by Team Penske at eight races, dating back to last year at Milwaukee.
“My hat’s off to Roger Penske and his team,” Ganassi told ESPN. “They keep us honest. When you beat them, you’ve done something. This (track) will tell you that.”
Ganassi had four chances at the pole, with Dixon, Kanaan (fourth), Charlie Kimball (14th) and Karam (23rd).
The team owner didn’t seem concerned about how fast Dixon would be after the IndyCar’s mandate for teams to qualify in race trim.
“We felt we had a pretty good car prior to that,” Ganassi said. “Going backwards is a lot easier than going forward.”