Day 2 Indy 500 qualifying results: Scott Dixon captures fourth pole position at Brickyard

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INDIANAPOLIS — Blissfully unaware of how “sketchy” his car would be, Scott Dixon got in and hung on Sunday for the fourth Indy 500 pole position of his illustrious career.

Backing up a week of consistently being the fastest driver in practice and qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion laid down a four-lap average at 231.685 mph to nip the 231.655 mph by Colton Herta

It was a margin that IndyCar estimated at 6 feet over the course of 10 miles around the 2.5-mile Speedway and capped a typically breathtaking Fast Nine pole qualifying as six drivers took turns atop the famous scoring pylon before Dixon thunderously capped the session with his first pole in four years.

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“This is what this sport is about, and this is what Indianapolis is about is laying this thing on the line,” an unusually exuberant Dixon told NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider after his 27th career IndyCar pole and his sixth front row start in his 19th Indy 500.

“Just so proud of everybody on the PNC Bank team. Everybody at Chip Ganassi. Four cars in the Fast Nine. Credit to (Ed Carpenter Racing drivers Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay), they threw in a hell of a fight there at the end.

“That was sketchy. It was pretty loose the last lap, I was hoping that I was going to make it through Turn 3. I was holding on.”

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon celebrates after winning his fourth Indy 500 pole position (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports Images).

Though his No. 9 Dallara-Honda entered Sunday as the clear-cut favorite after posting the fastest speed in Saturday’s qualifying opener and topping practice Wednesday and Friday, the Fast Nine still tested Dixon’s legendarily cool mettle.

After going first in the qualifying order Saturday and then never being threatened, Dixon faced the opposite Sunday as he sat through 30 minutes of watching other drivers dance closer to the edge on the formidable track.

As Dixon’s team members began making tweaks to the wing angles of his car that would add speed but decrease downforce and handling, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver waved off engineers who wanted to explain the adjustments.

The world’s fastest Kiwi preferred to grip it and rip it.

“It was pretty hairy,” Dixon said. “Glad it’s over. It was definitely pretty tense.

“When I saw the first few cars run, it was pretty calm. I saw the ECR cars run. I was like, that’s pretty strong, wasn’t expecting that. I was able to watch Colton’s four laps, too, wish I hadn’t before I went out. I knew his consistency was probably going to be a tick better than the other two, and it sure was.

“Yeah, Turn 1 for the first lap was very loose, and I was already maxed out on all the controls. I knew it was just going to be holding on for lap three and four.”

The only winner older than 24 in five races this season, Dixon, 40, will have two principal members of IndyCar’s young vanguard beside him at the green flag.

Herta, 21, will start a career-best second at Indy, the first time he’s on the front row in his third start here.

“Obviously, a little frustrated we didn’t get there in the end,” said Herta, who recently signed an Andretti Autosport contract extension after winning the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “P2 is definitely not a bad place to start for a 500-mile race.

“If I was a fan, I’d be really excited with that Fast Nine qualifying. Really, guys that just kept going faster every single run. It was actually really close for everyone. To beat Dixon, I think we really had to have that first lap and second lap just a tiny bit faster. We were so close.”

Rinus VeeKay, who just scored his first IndyCar victory last week on the IMS road course, will start third — making the Dutchman the youngest front-row starter in Indy 500 history at 20 years, 254 days.

“It’s really special,” VeeKay said. “Really, really happy. The four laps I did was on the limit. I couldn’t have gone any faster really. I had a big moment in the last lap, first corner. Yeah, kept it on track, kept it flat. Very happy, very grateful for the team for all the sleepless nights, all the hard work. Definitely also big kudos to Chevy for giving me the great power to bring me to the front row.

“I was the fastest teenager in 500 history last year. Now I’m the youngest front row. That’s pretty cool, yeah.”

Results of Day 2 final qualifying for the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (position, car number, driver, manufacturer, time and average speed over four laps in parentheses):


1. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 2 minutes, 35.3837 seconds (231.685 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.4034 (231.655)
3. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.5000 (231.511)
4. (20) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.5047 (231.504)
5. (48) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8229 (231.032)
6. (10) Alex Palou, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1039 (230.616)
7. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1827 (230.499)
8. (06) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.2804 (230.355)
9. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.3054 (230.318)
10. (27) Alexander Rossi, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8132 (231.046)
11. (18) Ed Jones, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8148 (231.044)
12. (5) Pato O’Ward, Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.9360 (230.864)
13. (51) Pietro Fittipaldi, Dallara-Honda, 2:35.9481 (230.846)
14. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.0168 (230.744)
15. (30) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.0417 (230.708)
16. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1395 (230.563)
17. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.1435 (230.557)
18. (15) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1680 (230.521)
19. (47) Conor Daly, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.2314 (230.427)
20. (60) Jack Harvey, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.3922 (230.191)
21. (2) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.4735 (230.071)
22. (1) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.5354 (229.980)
23. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.5563 (229.949)
24. (86) Juan Pablo Montoya, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.5961 (229.891)
25. (98) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.6089 (229.872)
26. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.6732 (229.778)
27. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.6964 (229.744)
28. (25) Stefan Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 2:36.7166 (229.714)
29. (59) Max Chilton, Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.9195 (229.417)
30. (4) Dalton Kellett, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.6717 (228.323)
31. (24) Sage Karam, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.0982 (229.156)
32. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.2905 (228.876)
33. (16) Simona De Silvestro, Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.6504 (228.353)

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”