SPM, Andretti, Penske and ECR locked into the Fast Nine

SPM, Andretti, Penske and ECR locked into the Fast Nine
Co-author: Nick DeGroot
May 21, 2016, 11:27 PM

Ganassi missed out on the chance to go for pole for the 100th Running of the Indy 500 as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Andretti Autosport, Team Penske and Ed Carpenter Racing have locked themselves into the Fast Nine.

James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
J.R. Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
The Pagoda
The Pagoda


Following the afternoon’s initial runs , Townsend Bell of Andretti Autosport was top, but James Hinchcliffe ended the day fastest for SPM, with an average of 230.946mph, with a strong second run, while Ryan Hunter-Reay came closest to toppling the Canadian.

The 2014 Indy winner's fastest lap was 0.1mph faster than Hinch’s best, but the run was less consistent, while Will Power was fastest Penske and fastest Chevrolet narrowly beating Helio Castroneves’ second attempt. Bell, Josef Newgarden (ECR-Chevy), Carlos Munoz (Andretti-Honda), and Simon Pagenaud (Penske-Chevy) were able to rely on their first run to remain in the Fast Nine, while Hinchcliffe's teammate Mikhail Aleshin made a brave last-minute run to vault his way into contention.

Story of the second (and third) runs

Aleshin was the first driver to go for a second qualifying run, and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda driver again came close to kissing the wall, but he held on and got into the top nine. When Ryan Hunter-Reay vaulted into sixth with his second run, that pushed Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Will Power outside the Fast Nine, but the Australian would have to wait his turn to retaliate.

Next in line was Marco Andretti who initially looked set to get beyond the threshold, but his average of 229.501mph wasn’t enough.

At 6:06pm, Conor Daly finally completed his first qualifying run, having had his car adjusted following Dale Coyne Racing teammate Pippa Mann’s crash. The Indiana native set an average of 227.804, 16th fastest at the time.

JR Hildebrand, 2011 runner-up, did a blazing 230.0 on his opening lap, but by the time he reached lap 4, he was down to 228.0 and was not able to get his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet back into the Fast Nine. Teammate and team owner Carpenter suffered a similar dropoff, but then Helio Castroneves sprung to the top with four 230mph laps that pretty much guaranteed his place in the Fast Nine.

Graham Rahal went into the fast lane in the pits to withdraw his original qualifying time, after a miserable first run, but it served him little, moving up three spots.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe then changed the face of the day with an ultra-strong run, consisting of three 231mph laps and a 230.5 on his final lap, resulting in an average of 230.946mph.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske-Chevrolet made a run that only produced a P10 time, 229.745mph, while Scott Dixon had an even worse run and dropped to 14th. But the #12 Penske of Will Power set a 231.1 opening lap and followed up with three 230s to go P2 behind Hinchcliffe. That pushed Oriol Servia’s SPM car out of the top nine, but the Catalan's second run dropped him to 25th.

Daly made a second run to set an average of 227.862mph, and he was swiftly followed out by teammate Gabby Chaves who looked so promising in practice. However, his run was waved off after one lap, to allow Marco Andretti to make his third attempt. Three 230mph laps followed by a 229 left Andretti hanging by his fingernails in P9, pushing his Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay out of the Fast Nine.

When RHR nailed a 231 and three 230s to go P2, he pushed yet another teammate, Alex Rossi onto the P9 bubble, which Aleshin promptly burst. The Russian exited pitlane as the gun went off to end the day’s activities, and the Mad Russian nailed an average of 230.209mph to wind up a brave seventh. 

Complete qualifying results

1 5 CanadaJames Hinchcliffe http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Hinchcliffe_s.png Schmidt (H) 2:35.8803
2 28 États-UnisRyan Hunter-Reay http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Hunter-Reay_s.png Andretti (H) 2:35.9755
3 12 AustralieWill Power http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Power_s.png Penske (C)
4 3 BrésilHelio Castroneves http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Castroneves_s.png Penske (C)
5 29 États-UnisTownsend Bell http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Bell_s.png Andretti (H) 2:36.2147
6 21 États-UnisJosef Newgarden http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Newgarden_s.png Carpenter (C)
7 7 RussieMikhail Aleshin http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Aleshin_s.png Schmidt (H)
8 26 ColombieCarlos Muñoz http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Munoz_s.png Andretti (H) 2:36.4042
9 22 FranceSimon Pagenaud http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Pagenaud_s.png Penske (C)
10 98 États-UnisAlexander Rossi http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Rossi_s.png Andretti-Herta (H) 2:36.4893
11 27 États-UnisMarco Andretti http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Andretti_s.png Andretti (H) 2:36.4966
12 2 ColombieJuan Pablo Montoya http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Montoya_s.png Penske (C)
13 9 Nouvelle-ZélandeScott Dixon http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Dixon_s.png Ganassi (C)
14 20 États-UnisEd Carpenter http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Carpenter_s.png Carpenter (C)
15 6 États-UnisJ.R. Hildebrand http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Hildebrand_s.png Carpenter (C)
16 14 JaponTakuma Sato http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Sato_s.png Foyt (H)
17 18 États-UnisConor Daly http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Daly_s.png Coyne (H)
18 24 États-UnisSage Karam http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Karam_s.png Dreyer & Reinbold (C) 2:38.0191
19 10 BrésilTony Kanaan http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Kanaan_s.png Ganassi (C)
20 11 FranceSébastien Bourdais http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Bourdais_s.png KVSH (C)
21 15 États-UnisGraham Rahal http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Rahal_s.png Rahal (H) 2:38.2853
22 88 États-UnisBryan Clauson http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Clauson_s.png Coyne (H) 2:38.5136
23 16 États-UnisSpencer Pigot http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Pigot_s.png Rahal (H) 2:38.5202
24 77 EspagneOriol Servia http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Servia_s.png Schmidt (H) 2:38.6649
25 42 États-UnisCharlie Kimball http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Kimball_s.png Ganassi (C)
26 61 AustralieMatthew Brabham http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Brabham_s.png Murray (C) 2:39.0178
27 25  Stefan Wilson http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Wilson_s.png KVSH (C)
28 41 Royaume-UniJack Hawksworth http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Hawksworth_s.png Foyt (H)
29 35 CanadaAlex Tagliani http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Tagliani_s.png Foyt (H) 2:40.3515
30 4 États-UnisBuddy Lazier http://www.toilef1.com/site/image/indycar/2016/06-Indy500/Lazier_s.png Lazier (C) 2:40.4702

*Gabby Chaves, Pippa Mann, Max Chilton do not have an official time yet

Next article
Rear wing endfence failure blamed for Mann's crash

Previous article

Rear wing endfence failure blamed for Mann's crash

Next article

Chevrolet boss not surprised by Honda pace at Indy

Chevrolet boss not surprised by Honda pace at Indy
Load comments
Be first to get
breaking news