Pole speed record broken as Alex Palou pips Rinus VeeKay to pole for next Sunday’s Indy 500

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Following the dramatic ending to Last Chance Qualifying, the fight for pole began with the Arrow McLaren of Pato O’Ward kicking things off.

The Mexican’s four laps were: 233.756, 233.490, 232.962, 232.430 — the four lap average was 233.158mph.

Five-time Indy 500 pole winner Scott Dixon was next for Chip Ganassi Racing. The six-time IndyCar champion was going for three consecutive poles at the 500.

The Kiwi’s four laps were: 234.184, 233.135, 232.808, 232.483 — the four lap average was 233.151mph. He fell just short of beating O’Ward.

Dixon had a much stronger first lap than O’Ward but it fell away as the laps went on. His CGR got loose and dropped almost 2mph from lap one to lap four.

It was another CGR next with championship leader Alex Palou going for it.

The Spaniard’s four laps were 235.131, 234.399, 233.930, 233.415 — the four lap average was a stunning 234.217mph.

A very special run from Palou saw him break Scott Dixon’s pole speed record from last year.

Next time was Indianapolis specialist Rinus VeeKay. He’s started every 500 he’s competed in inside the top 5.

The Dutchman’s four laps were 235.019, 234.403, 233.982, 233.444 — the average was 234.211.

Although VeeKay edged Palou on laps two, three and four, the 22-year-old missed out by a remarkably close margin. It was 234.211 versus 234.217.

The penultimate driver to go was the very impressive Santino Ferrucci. The American looked rapid in qualifying on Saturday and was P2 in the Fast 12.

Ferrucci’s four laps were 234.332, 233.778, 233.288, 233.249 — the average was a 233.661mph which put him ahead of O’Ward and Dixon.

The AJ Foyt Racing driver had some very hairy moments on his laps but still delivered good pace.

Last to go was Sweden and Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist after going quickest in the Fast 12.

His four laps were 234.602, 234.233, 233.930, 233.693 — the average was 234.114mph.

Despite a great run from the Swede, Rosenqvist just missed out on pole and P2. Nonetheless, an excellent weekend will see him start P3 next Sunday.

Palou’s maiden pole at the Indy 500 — and with it the new pole speed record — puts him ahead of VeeKay and Rosenqvist on the front row. Ferrucci, O’Ward and Dixon complete the top 6.

Fast Six — four-lap average

1) Palou 234.217mph

2) VeeKay 234.211mph

3) Rosenqvist 234.114mph

4) Ferrucci 233.661mph

5) O’Ward 233.158mph

6) Dixon 233.151mph

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski