“Hinch” on top following thrilling final hour of Indy day 1 qualifying

Photo: IndyCar

INDIANAPOLIS – James Hinchcliffe has topped the timesheets following an electric final hour of first day qualifying for the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Hinchcliffe put together a barnburner of a run in cooler conditions, following some changes from the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda team to put the car in a better position after ending 11th after the first run.

There were only five drivers who averaged over 230 mph in the first run but following the last hour – which was extended from 6 to 7 p.m. ET and local time following earlier delays for weather and weepers – but by the end of the day there were 11.

Behind Hinchcliffe, the others who advanced into Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout include Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Townsend Bell, Josef Newgarden, Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Munoz and Simon Pagenaud.

Bell led after the first round of runs was complete.

Aleshin’s run was the ultimate in cutting it close, making it out onto the circuit merely one second before the gun went off to run the final attempt of the day.

In doing so, he bumped Alexander Rossi out of the Fast Nine, which was an unfortunate break for the American rookie who has been strong all week.

Marco Andretti was also unlucky to come up short, while Juan Pablo Montoya won’t be in the Fast Nine nor will defending polesitter Scott Dixon.

Montoya and Dixon were 12th and 13th today.

INDIANAPOLIS – Results of qualifying Saturday for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Rank, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 02:35.8803 (230.946)
2. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 02:35.9755 (230.805)
3. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 02:36.0225 (230.736)
4. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 02:36.1822 (230.500)
5. (29) Townsend Bell, Honda, 02:36.2147 (230.452)
6. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 02:36.3658 (230.229)
7. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 02:36.3798 (230.209)
8. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 02:36.4042 (230.173)
9. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 02:36.4522 (230.102)
10. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 02:36.4893 (230.048)
11. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 02:36.4966 (230.037)
12. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 02:36.6956 (229.745)
13. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 02:36.8651 (229.497)
14. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 02:36.9111 (229.429)
15. (6) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 02:37.1538 (229.075)
16. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 02:37.8281 (228.096)
17. (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 02:37.9902 (227.862)
18. (24) Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 02:38.0191 (227.821)
19. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 02:38.1171 (227.679)
20. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 02:38.2819 (227.442)
21. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 02:38.2853 (227.437)
22. (88) Bryan Clauson, Honda, 02:38.5136 (227.110)
23. (16) Spencer Pigot, Honda, 02:38.5202 (227.100)
24. (77) Oriol Servia, Honda, 02:38.6649 (226.893)
25. (42) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 02:38.9057 (226.549)
26. (61) Matt Brabham, Chevrolet, 02:39.0178 (226.390)
27. (25) Stefan Wilson, Chevrolet, 02:39.6031 (225.560)
28. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 02:39.7248 (225.388)
29. (35) Alex Tagliani, Honda, 02:40.3515 (224.507)
30. (4) Buddy Lazier, Chevrolet, 02:40.4702 (224.341)
31. (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, no time (no speed)
32. (19) Gabby Chaves, Honda, no time (no speed)
33. (63) Pippa Mann, Honda, no time (no speed)

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III