Indy 500 | IndyCar Qualifying Day 1 | Second Qualy attempts: Rossi biggest improver, a last minute Veekay and the surprise Hunter-Reay

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens
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Seven cars are already in Lane 2, with all Arrow McLaren drivers without a time, as well as Dixon, Veekay and Hunter-Reay

The first driver to go out on track in the second part of qualifying was  500 winner Alexander Rossi, who snatches an impressive 233.493 mph on his first lap. After an half mile drop-off between his first and second lap he ends up in P4, dethroning Kirkwood as the first non Penske driver.

Up next is Ryan Hunter Reay for Dreyer&Reinbold Racing with Cusick Motorsport. After a fast 232.3mph lap, the drop off, which is getting more and more significant as time goes by, hits him with a 231.7. His average of 231.695mph puts him in provisional P17.

Multiple times 500 contender Pato O’Ward gets on track for the first time, running a bit high at the beginning of his first fast lap and having a plenum fire, the same issue Larson has suffered from earlier. His first lap is 227.671mph, and he keeps going, improving lap by lap, but his average of is 229.8mph only good enough for P29

On next is Larson’s second attempt, with a first lap of 232.951mph and a very impressive average of 232.563mph that puts him just behind Kirkwood.

The Andretti driver is next out on track, but his run is worse than his previous attempt, with the yellow coming out and cutting his track time short.

Out next is Romain Grosjean, in provisional P31 after going through the fast lane, but he aborts the attempt returning to his earlier P20.

Scott Dixon is then out on his first attempt following a last minute engine change. The Ganassi driver had two consistent 232mphs laps, but his final one was a mere 231.0, which has him average a 231.851mph for provisional P17.

Callum Ilott is out now, having being disqualified for a non conform rear wheel component, getting P19 with an average of 231.728mph, putting Rahal in P30.

Canapino went out for a second attempt but he aborted it. Andretti’s Ericsson is unsuccessful as well, with two faster lap but an issue on the third having his lap waved off.

Blomqvist takes another shot and is successful, moving up from P25 to P22 with a new average of 231.578mph. Yet another Andretti car returns on track with three hours left on the clock, but he abandons it after sliding badly out of Turn 2.

Fifteen minutes later Siegel returns on track to get more confidence, recording an improved lap around the 228.9mphs, followed by another Takuma Sato outing ten minutes after, with a wiggle on the third and almost coming in contact with the wall on the final. He achieves a 232.473mph, which moves him up three spots to P9.

Up next is Veekay, with Ed Carpenter Racing wanting to check everything is ok after their reparations following the young driver’s earlier shunt, but not trying to qualify yet.

Castroneves from P20 went out as well, but his attempt is waved off

With 2:16 hours left on the clock O’Ward returns on track. No engine issues this time out, but a massive drop off between the first 232.459mph and the final 231.08mph. His average of 231.833mph uts him in provisional P19, just ahead of his teammate Callum Ilott, as his first complete run of the day.

Ericsson goes out for another attempt, but he is unable to improve from his P30. Veekay is out next for his first timed sequence of the day. He signs a first fast lap of 231.6, and with an average of 231.166mph he is in P29.

Robb improves the speed on his next first lap and was able to keep it up for the full run, jumping up seven spots to a safe P20 with a 231.826mph average. Out at the moment are Ericsson, Legge, Rahal and Siegel.

RLL has however finally managed to change Rahal’s engine, allowing him to return out on track with 1:45 hours to go, but his 230.388mph is not enough to get him in the top 30.

Up next is Katherine Legge’s DCR, who has a very positive run but is off Fittipaldi ‘s P30 by only a couple of tenths. She’s followed by Christian Lundgaard, looking forward to get a bigger gap to the bottom 4, but he is unsuccessful.

O’Ward has another shot, signing his first fast lap in the 233.003mph and is able to sign off an average of 232.434mph, which puts him right in the Fast 12.

Ilott returns on track for a third attempt, but after three very strong laps, including a 233.013mph, on the final one the Brit has a lift and coast that turns out to be very costly for him, having him slot in P13 only 0.006mph off Herta’s speed on the bubble in P12.

McLaren sends out Rossi as well, who improves his average best speed to 233.069 becoming the first non Penske driver to have a 233mphs average speed, but still keeps him in P4. To round off the papaya team moment, Kyle Larson returns on track with 1:08 minutes to go, but after signing a 233.439 fast lap he aborts.

Photo credits: Penske Entertainment | Chris Owens

Daly is on track next, but after two stronger first laps he is unable to improve. He is followed by Herta, who slightly moves up to P11 ahead of Palou with a 232.316 average speed.

His teammate Ryan Hunter Reay follows him, and pulls an amazing performance with an average of 232.385mph to kick reigning champion Alex Palou out of the top 12.

Ericsson tries to improve his time with yet another outing, but he remains unsuccessful. His attempt is followed by Christian Rasmussen’s, but it’s yet another random plenum fire moment for a Chevrolet engine, as his second lap is a 229.438mph, ending the attempt on the final lap.

The same things happens shortly after to his teammate Ed Carpenter as well, bailing out from a strong attempt. Dixon is out next with only half an hour left on the clock, but is unable to improve his average. He’s followed by Fittipaldi, as more and more drivers line up with track temperature going down, but his newest run isn’t fast enough to move him up from P30.

Rahal puts another attempt under his belt, but he is still in P31. Out next is Canapino, as Siegel goes through the fast lane and will start next. He signs two very impressive 233.4 mph adjacent laps, but on the third he has an engine issue which forces him to wave the lap.

It’s now the turn of the DCR driver, but his attempt is cut short as his first lap is very slow already. Ericsson goes out for his final run of the day, with the main question at the moment being whether or not Palou will have the time for a final attempt. Daly had been contemplating a Lane 1 move, but Canapino’s engine failure had him back out.

The 500 winner doesn’t improve and will have to watch his teammates in the fast 12 from the outside of the top 30. Legge gets on track as Veekay takes the Lane 1 gamble, as well as Rahal, making Palou’s hopes to get his Ganassi car no.10 back into the top 12 slimmer and slimmer. The British driver’s attempt gets cut short after two laps.

ECR’s Veekay is on next, who has a first lap in 233.448. With a absolutely outstanding performance the Dutchman’s huge risk from a safe P29 pays off, as he is able to sneak P11 and will have the opportunity to fight for pole again in spite of his crash earlier today and all the damage his car had suffered. The final attempt of the day will be put in by Rahal, as Ericsson is told to unbuckle. However the RLL driver backs out.

No Ganassi drivers will be able to fight for pole, with the best qualifier Palou in P14. Only one Andretti has the chance to fight for pole. All drivers from Penske, to nobody’s surprise, are through, as well as three McLaren drivers.

Last chance contenders: Ericsson, Siegel, Rahal, Legge

Fast 12: Power, McLaughlin, Newgarden, Rossi, Kirkwood, Larson, Rosenqvist, Ferrucci, Sato, O’Ward, Veekay, Hunter-Reay