Scott Dixon capped Indianapolis 500 qualifying Sunday by setting the record for the fastest pole position in the race’s history.
A four-lap average of 234.046 mph propelled Dixon to his fifth Indy 500 pole and broke Scott Brayton’s record of 233.718 mph set in 1996. Arie Luyendyk holds the four-lap qualifying record of 236.986 mph, but his run was on the second day of qualifying in 1996 and not eligible for the pole.
Dixon said he knew things were good when he saw the first lap but didn’t have time to enjoy the speed.
“I think we had a 234.7, or something. When I saw that I was like ‘OK this is going to be a good run,’” Dixon said. “But then because of the sequence that you have to do now with so many changes of buttons and switches and controls and weight jacker and [anti-]roll bars, you’re busy. So you’re consumed.”
As Dixon completed his run, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Palou watched from pit lane. He smiled and shrugged as his hopes of holding on to the top spot faded with each lap.
“There was not a lot of nerves,” Palou said. “I knew he was going to get it. He’s the man here, so it was OK.”
Palou will start second, and Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing will start third. The trio’s average speed of more than 233 miles per hour is the fastest ever for the race’s front row.
Two other Ganassi drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Tony Kanaan, will start fifth and sixth. Jimmy Johnson, making his Indianapolis 500 debut with Ganassi, will start 12th.
“Huge credit to every single person on the team. That was definitely a feat – five cars in the Fast 12, four cars in the Fast 6,” Dixon said. “Every team owner would dream of that situation.”
The 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 is Sunday, May 29.