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

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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)