SPM, Andretti, Penske and ECR locked into the Fast Nine
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.
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||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt (H)||2:35.8803|
|2||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti (H)||2:35.9755|
|3||12||Will Power|| Penske (C) ||2:36.0225|
|4||3||Helio Castroneves|| Penske (C) ||2:36.1822|
|5||29||Townsend Bell||Andretti (H)||2:36.2147|
|6||21||Josef Newgarden|| Carpenter (C) ||2:36.3658|
|7||7||Mikhail Aleshin|| Schmidt (H) ||2:36.3798|
|8||26||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti (H)||2:36.4042|
|9||22||Simon Pagenaud|| Penske (C) ||2:36.4522|
|10||98||Alexander Rossi||Andretti-Herta (H)||2:36.4893|
|11||27||Marco Andretti||Andretti (H)||2:36.4966|
|12||2||Juan Pablo Montoya|| Penske (C) ||2:36.6956|
|13||9||Scott Dixon|| Ganassi (C) ||2:36.8651|
|14||20||Ed Carpenter|| Carpenter (C) ||2:36.9111|
|15||6||J.R. Hildebrand|| Carpenter (C) ||2:37.1538|
|16||14||Takuma Sato|| Foyt (H) ||2:37.8281|
|17||18||Conor Daly|| Coyne (H) ||2:37.9902|
|18||24||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold (C)||2:38.0191|
|19||10||Tony Kanaan|| Ganassi (C) ||2:38.1171|
|20||11||Sébastien Bourdais|| KVSH (C) ||2:38.2819|
|21||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal (H)||2:38.2853|
|22||88||Bryan Clauson||Coyne (H)||2:38.5136|
|23||16||Spencer Pigot||Rahal (H)||2:38.5202|
|24||77||Oriol Servia||Schmidt (H)||2:38.6649|
|25||42||Charlie Kimball|| Ganassi (C) ||2:38.9057|
|26||61||Matthew Brabham||Murray (C)||2:39.0178|
|27||25||Stefan Wilson|| KVSH (C) ||2:39.6031|
|28||41||Jack Hawksworth|| Foyt (H) ||2:39.7248|
|29||35||Alex Tagliani||Foyt (H)||2:40.3515|
|30||4||Buddy Lazier||Lazier (C)||2:40.4702|
*Gabby Chaves, Pippa Mann, Max Chilton do not have an official time yet
Rear wing endfence failure blamed for Mann's crash
Chevrolet boss not surprised by Honda pace at Indy
About this article
|Location||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|Drivers||Helio Castroneves , Townsend Bell , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Marco Andretti , Will Power , Simon Pagenaud , Mikhail Aleshin , James Hinchcliffe , Josef Newgarden|
|Teams||Andretti Autosport , Team Penske , Schmidt Peterson Motorsports , Ed Carpenter Racing|