Dixon grabs pole position for Indy 500 with record-breaking run


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Scott Dixon, the six-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, took pole position for the 106th running of IndyCar’s crown jewel event by turning in the fastest pole-winning qualifying run in the history of the race.

Dixon set the benchmark early on in the Top 12 qualifying session, with a four-lap average speed of 233.510 mph (375.798 kph). He was one of four Chip Ganassi Racing drivers that progressed to the decisive Fast Six qualifying stage, joining Marcus Ericsson, Tony Kanaan, and defending IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou.

The odd man out was ‘super rookie’ Jimmie Johnson, who narrowly avoided a disaster when he lost grip heading into turn one on his first lap. He brushed the wall and continued his run, but his four-lap average was not fast enough to put him into the final stage of qualifying. Johnson, the seven-time NASCAR champion, will start 12th.

Along with the Ganassi quartet, two cars from Ed Carpenter Racing made the cut for the fast six as Rinus VeeKay set a four-lap average of 233.429, and team owner Ed Carpenter also progressed to the pole shootout.

McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist were bumped at the end of the session, and will start seventh and eighth. Andretti Autosport’s Romain Grosjean qualified ninth, the ex-Formula 1 racer qualifying as the fastest rookie on his debut in the race.

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (Coyne/RWR) in 10th, and Will Power (Penske) in eleventh will share the fourth row with Johnson.

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Following the first running of the new Top 12 runs, an intermission in which the leading six drivers conducted 100mph parade laps to cool their engines, and had a five-minute period for adjustments. Fast Six qualifying then began with Tony Kanaan setting a time that put him sixth on the grid for his 21st and potentially final Indy 500 start.

Carpenter was next out, dealing with a gust of wind on his final lap. The 19th year Indy 500 veteran and three-time pole sitter will start fourth, next to Ericsson, who secured his best ever Indy 500 starting position in fifth.

Palou then laid down a blistering, consistent run at an average speed of 233.499 mph to jump up to provisional pole position. VeeKay, whose jaw-dropping run on Saturday caught everyone’s attention, was consistent as well – but not fast enough to displace Palou from the top spot, at 233.385 mph. VeeKay’s run nonetheless secured his second consecutive front-row start at the 500.

But the last man on track, Scott Dixon, would not be denied. With his first two laps above 234 mph, and with remarkable consistency throughout all four laps, he drove his way into another page of the Indianapolis 500 record books with a four-lap average speed of 234.046 mph (376.661 kph) to secure his fifth Indy 500 pole position, his second in a row – along with twelve points in the IndyCar Series standings.

Dixon’s record run will officially go down as the fastest pole-winning run in Indy history, eclipsing the 233.718 mph run recorded by the late Scott Brayton in 1996, days before his fatal practice accident. The all-time qualifying record of 236.986 mph (381.392 kph), recorded by Arie Luyendyk the same year, was set during the second day of qualifying and did not count for pole position.

With his fifth Indy 500 pole position secured, Dixon will now set his sights on finally taking his second victory in the race next Sunday.

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Indianapolis 500 qualifiers

Top 12 (times set on Sunday)

Position Car Driver Team Engine
1 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda
2 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
3 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
4 33 Ed Carpenter Carpenter Chevrolet
5 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
6 1 Tony Kanaan Ganassi Honda
7 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet
8 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet
9 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Honda
10 51 Takuma Sato Coyne/RWR Honda
11 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
12 48 Jimmie Johnson Ganassi Honda

Remaining qualifiers (times set on Saturday)

Position Car Driver Team Engine
13 18 David Malukas Coyne/HMD Honda
14 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
15 23 Santino Ferrucci DRR Chevrolet
16 60 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Honda
17 11 JR Hildebrand Foyt Chevrolet
18 20 Conor Daly Carpenter Chevrolet
19 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
20 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Honda
21 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
22 24 Sage Karam DRR Chevrolet
23 98 Marco Andretti Andretti Chevrolet
24 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Honda
25 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
26 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
27 06 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
28 14 Kyle Kirkwood Foyt Chevrolet
29 4 Dalton Kellett Foyt Chevrolet
30 6 Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren SP Chevrolet
31 30 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
32 45 Jack Harvey RLL Honda
33 25 Stefan Wilson DragonSpeed/Cusick Chevrolet

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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9 comments on “Dixon grabs pole position for Indy 500 with record-breaking run”

  1. Absolutely insane speeds.

  2. Mark in Florida
    23rd May 2022, 1:55

    The look of disbelief on Palou face said it all. He laid down an incredible lap that looked like it couldn’t be beat. Then Dixon went out and crushed it!! Dixon is just so calm and collected his methodology reminds me of Schumacher in his precision and consistency. An incredible drive, those cars were fast but on the edge in the turns the whole time. Honorable mention to Grosean, he hung that car out there even though it was a handful. Can’t wait for the race it should be exciting.

    1. Ok, Dixon is just unbelievable! He’s been so good for so many years people take him for granted. The ice man is Mr. Cool.

  3. Fine, keep the absolutely fast but ancient DW12 for the ovals, the teams have a dozens of them lying around with nothing to do with them after the NextGen Dallara comes along.

    In fact, maybe you could even have a series on ovals only for the “teams” unwilling to commit to road and street courses, call it like, International Racing League or something. I’m sure it wont cause a Split among the ranks.


    Well done Scott Dixon, Firestone, Honda (and Chevrolet) and CGR

    1. I see no problem with the “ancient” DW12 on ovals or road and street tracks. it has been a huge success, great racing, and the updated aero kits of last few years look fantastic, amazing they have used it a decade now, an interesting and id say better alternative to F1s car design rule book.

  4. Dixon was like a machine in there! He smashed the field with just one lap that was outside anybody else’s reach and even Palou knew it was over, because Dixon’s 4-lap consistency was unmatched.

    Also, kudos to Jimmy Johnson for being able to save a slide at 365kmh!

  5. Dixon’s run was really special, but the whole second day or qualifying was exciting. Can’t wait for the race.

  6. Rick Worth
    23rd May 2022, 8:26

    Those cars look planted to the track. Incredible. But qualy must be blinkin’ terrifying all the same.

  7. Now that is proper fast. Dixon is a legend, would have been a legend in F1 also. Ericsson and Grosjean did well for the F1 folks. Grosjean the fastest of the Andretti drivers.

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