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Qualifying report
IndyCar Indianapolis 500

Indy 500: Power leads Penske 1-2-3 with 233.758mph qualifying run

Will Power led an early Team Penske sweep after the initial qualifying attempts through the running order for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

The ninth of the 34 drivers vying to make the field of 33, Power produced four crisp laps to complete the 10 miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an average speed of 233.758mph.

His first lap was an impressive 234.030mph, which set the tone for the run.

“I wouldn't have trimmed any more than that,” Power said. “Like, it was tough in [Turns] 3 and 4, so I thought we were alright. I guess spot-on for that run.

“Car is fast, pretty comfortable. Little loose in [Turn] 3, but it's about what we wanted to do, get a time on the board where we don't have to run again.”

Scott McLaughlin furthered Penske’s stranglehold at the sharp end of the field after a 233.332mph four-lap average was enough to secure second, ahead of team-mate and defending Indy 500 champion Josef Newgarden in third (233.293mph four-lap average).

Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood, who went out first on the day when track temperatures were 95F (compared to over 113F two hours later), delivered a combined pace at 232.764mph to be the fastest Honda runner in fourth.

Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist went out when the track was 105F and unleashed a stout set of laps for an average of 232.547mph to currently hold fifth in another Honda-powered machine.

AJ Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci, who finished third in last year’s Indy 500, logged a run at 232.496mph to climb to sixth.

Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing), Colton Herta (Andretti Global), Marcus Armstrong (Chip Ganassi Racing), Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Ed Carpenter (Ed Carpenter Racing) and rookie Kyffin Simpson (Chip Ganassi Racing) are currently in the transfer spots to advance into the Sunday’s Top 12 that will battle for pole.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, did not make a run after the team opted for a precautionary engine change on his No. 9 Honda.

He was originally set to go out 27th.

“We’ve been with Honda for a long, long time; they’re a terrific partner,” said Mike Hull, managing director for Chip Ganassi Racing. “Rather than going into great detail, it’s just a precautionary measure at this point.

“It doesn’t end our day, it starts our day. We’re planning to qualify for the Indy 500, up towards the front, or at the front with Honda. So that’s what we’re doing here.”

Rinus VeeKay crashes at Turn 3

Rinus VeeKay crashes at Turn 3

There were also problems for one of the event’s best qualifiers as Rinus VeeKay crashed in Turn 3 after being the fourth driver to go out on track.

The 23-year-old Dutchman was on the first lap of his run and went into the corner at 238mph before bobbling slightly and then hitting the outside wall. Despite severe damage to the back-end of the car, the team elected to make repairs instead of going to a backup car.

“It felt all fine,” said VeeKay, who has three front row starts in four races. “I had a huge moment really late and don't really understand how that happened.”

The maiden attempt for NASCAR star Kyle Larson was also derailed. He was in the midst of a strong run after three laps between 232.318mph to 232.719mph, but the pitch of his engine changed during an upshift coming out of Turn 1 on his final lap.

With that, he aborted the run and brought his No. 17 Arrow McLaren-Rick Hendrick Chevrolet to pit road, where his crew took it back to the garage and diagnosed the outcome as an electronic issue.

“There was some alarm that popped up on the dash and it just cut a bunch of power,” said Larson, the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series champion. “I don't really know how our run was looking, but the car felt pretty balanced.”

Larson’s issue was only part of the drama around Arrow McLaren, as Callum Ilott’s time was disallowed after a left-rear offset was found to be illegal on the No. 6 Chevrolet during technical inspection after his run.

Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Chevrolet was pulled out of line, which was scheduled for 23rd and forfeited its guaranteed attempt. The No. 7 of Alexander Rossi, set to go out 34th, was also pulled out of line early and had yet to make a run.

The No. 23 Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet of Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indy 500 winner, was another of seven cars that have yet to make an attempt by lunchtime.

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