INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Scott Dixon used a breathtaking run of more than 234 mph to post the fastest Indianapolis 500 pole run in history. The New Zealander will lead the field to green in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” for the fifth time in his career.
Considered the best driver of his generation, Dixon completed four laps Sunday averaging 234.046 mph around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His average beat Scott Brayton’s pole record set in 1996 of 233.718 mph.
Arie Luyendyk holds the four-lap qualifying record of 236.986 mph, also achieved in 1996, but not in a race for pole. This means Dixon’s qualifying run was the second fastest in 106 races at the world’s most prestigious race.
Dixon’s first lap was a mind-boggling 234.437 mph and drew a roar from the fans. His second lap was 234.162 and his wife Emma leaned over the pit wall in amazement, her hands covering her mouth. Dixon’s stall from there was tiny: His fourth and final lap was 233.726 as his consistency gave Chip Ganassi Racing its seventh Indy 500 pole.
Dixon also started from pole in 2008 when he scored his lone Indy 500 victory, as well as in 2015, 2017 and last year.
“That’s what it’s all about, the ups and downs you have in one day, it’s crazy,” Dixon said. His hands were shaking after his first run earlier on Sunday.
Ganassi advanced his five riders in the two-lap qualifying shootout to determine the starting order of the front three rows for next week’s race. Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson needed a massive stop in the first corner of his opening lap and didn’t make it past the Round of 16.
But Dixon did it, along with his three other Honda-powered teammates. That made it Dixon, defending IndyCar champion Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson and Tony Kanaan in a one-on-one “Fast Six” shootout against Chevrolet teammates Ed Carpenter and Rinus VeeKay.
“That’s what real competitors want, real competitors want that,” Ganassi said ahead of the session. “It’s a time made for champions.”
VeeKay on Saturday had posted the third-fastest qualifying run in track history, but didn’t have enough for Dixon’s big, big laps. Palou, who averaged 233.499, qualified second alongside his teammate and VeeKay finished third at 233.385.
Carpenter was fourth and followed by Ericsson and Kanaan, who at 232.372 was the slowest of the last six shots on goal. But even the slowest cars were flying around Indy, which hasn’t seen such speeds since 1996.
Kanaan’s lap would have been the eighth fastest qualifying race in the written record books before the drivers rewrote history this weekend.
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