The Lineup is set for the Indy 500

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Qualification for the Indy 500 has always been different than the other races on the IndyCar schedule, but this time around, it was different than time trials have ever been for this race. Knockout style qualification was on hand with positions 13-33 set on Saturday, 12 drivers advancing into Sunday's sessions, which then set of roster drivers that was cut in half once more for the Fast 6.

That meant to win the pole, drivers had to complete 12 laps at speed. As they slowly whittled the field down to the potential pole qualifiers, drama built.

Scott Dixon blistered the track to win his fifth career Indy 500 pole and his second consecutive. He knows this is only part of the journey. Last year he fell back after leading the field to green and gave the top spot on Lap 1 to Colton Herta. Dixon eventually led seven laps in the 2021 edition of this race, but faded to 17th at the checkers. Dixon's four-lap average of 234.046 m.p.h. eclipsed the previous record set by Scott Brayton in 1996 that stood for more than 25 years. Nothing lasts forever. Arie Luyendyk posted a faster time in 1996, but his lap of 236.986 m.p.h. was earned on the second day of qualifying under the old format and was not eligible for the pole.

Dixon's teammate, Alex Palou waited in the wings as the provisional pole sitter and watched Dixon hit the track. Palou knew after the first lap that Dixon would not be denied so long as he kept his car off the wall, but he is not likely to be disappointed because he will line up on the front row for the first time in his career. This is Palou's third Indy 500 start and he has qualified in the top 10 in his other two appearances. last year, he started sixth and finished second.

Rinus VeeKay had a ton of speed throughout the weekend. He posted the fastest time in Saturday's qualification, was second-best among the Fast 12 and third-best when it mattered most. VeeKay has shown consistent speed in his first two Indy 500 attempts, starting fourth in 2020 and third last year. His best finish also came in 2020 with an eighth.

Ed Carpenter came up short of winning his fourth Indy 500 pole, but he backed up his qualification effort from last year. In 2021, he started the race fourth and earned his third top-five in the legendary race. Carpenter narrowly missed that mark in 2019 when he started second and finished sixth.

Marcus Ericsson has gotten progressively better in four qualification attempts for the Indy 500. Starting 13th in 2019 and 11th in 2020, he failed to crack the top 20 in either race. Last year he started on the outside of Row 3 in ninth and almost cracked the top 10; Ericsson finished 11th in 2021.

Tony Kanaan took the final spot of Row 2. Running just the ovals in the past couple of year, the recent lack of repetitions seems to have cost him. He finished fifth this in 2017 and has not been able to back that up since. Two of his last four efforts ended in top-10s, however, including a 10th last year after starting fifth.

The drivers qualified seventh through 12th each failed to back up their times from Saturday, while five of the top six drivers improved from Saturday to Sunday. Three drivers posted their fastest time in the final qualification session.

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Takuma Sato probably expected more. The owner of two wins, Sato started near the front in both of those races with a fourth-place start in 2017 and a third in 2020. Still, this is a better start than Sato has had for most of his Indy 500s. His other three starts in the last five editions started 14th through 16th.

Team Penske struggled to find speed throughout the week with Will Power as the only driver from the organization to make the Fast 12. As soon as he posted his lap, he knew it was not going to be enough to make a run at the pole. Last year was even worse for Power. He barely made the show in 32nd and finished 30th.

Several drivers almost hit the wall during the Fast 12 session, but none came closer than Jimmie Johnson. He easily advanced to the second round of qualification with the sixth-best time on Saturday, fueling speculation that he could make it all the way into the Fast 6. Johnson had commitment entering Turn 1 of Lap 1, but he lacked grip and pushed toward the wall. He narrowly missed wading up his car and lost a ton of speed when he was forced to feather the throttle. Qualifying 12th, he was the fastest rookie of the race.

But Johnson has an almost-complete season under his belt after running the road courses in 2021. David Malukas is still finding his way around all the tracks for the first time. He barely missed advancing to the Fast 12 with an average speed of 231.607 m.p.h. compared to Sato's speed 231.708 that made him the final driver to advance into the Fast 12.

Rank

Driver

|

Prequalification
Line

Fast 6

Fast 12

Day 1
(13-33)

Fastest
Avg.

Set

1.

Scott Dixon

|

750

1

1

10

234.046

Fast 6

2.

Alex Palou

|

900

2

3

4

233.499

Fast 6

3.

Rinus VeeKay

|

1400

3

2

1

233.655

Saturday

4.

Ed Carpenter

|

4000

4

5

7

233.080

Fast 6

5.

Marcus Ericsson

|

2200

5

4

8

233.166

Fast 12

6.

Tony Kanaan

|

2000

6

6

5

233.022

Fast 12

7.

Patricio O'Ward

|

1000

7

2

233.037

Saturday

8.

Felix Rosenqvist

|

3000

8

3

232.775

Saturday

9.

Romain Grosjean

|

3000

9

9

232.201

Saturday

10.

Takuma Sato

|

2500

10

12

231.708

Saturday

11.

Will Power

|

1400

11

11

231.842

Saturday

12.

Jimmie Johnson

|

2500

12

6

232.398

Saturday

13.

David Malukas

|

10000

13

231.607

Saturday

14.

Josef Newgarden

|

800

14

231.580

Saturday

15.

Santino Ferrucci

|

8000

15

231.508

Saturday

16.

Simon Pagenaud

|

2500

16

231.275

Saturday

17.

JR Hildebrand

|

25000

17

231.112

Saturday

18.

Conor Daly

|

5000

18

230.999

Saturday

19.

Callum Ilott

|

15000

19

230.961

Saturday

20.

Alexander Rossi

|

2000

20

230.812

Saturday

21.

Graham Rahal

|

2000

21

230.766

Saturday

22.

Sage Karam

|

10000

22

230.464

Saturday

23.

Marco Andretti

|

5000

23

230.345

Saturday

24.

Devlin DeFrancesco

|

8000

24

230.326

Saturday

25.

Colton Herta

|

850

25

230.235

Saturday

26.

Scott McLaughlin

|

1000

26

230.154

Saturday

27.

Helio Castroneves

|

1800

27

229.630

Saturday

28.

Kyle Kirkwood

|

10000

28

229.406

Saturday

29.

Dalton Kellett

|

30000

29

228.916

Saturday

30.

Juan Pablo Montoya

|

3000

30

228.622

Saturday

31.

Christian Lundgaard

|

8000

31

227.053

Saturday

32.

Jack Harvey

|

6000

32

226.851

Saturday

33.

Stefan Wilson

|

20000

33

0.000

2022 Prequalification Practice
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