Fast 9, Last-Row Shootout Set In Indy 500 Qualifying

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

The second most stressful day of the year is now done for a select few in the NTT IndyCar Series field.

Following a six-hour session Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 35 cars set times to see where they stand for Sunday’s Pole/Bump Day for next week’s 105th Indianapolis 500.

The first matter of business was the Fast 9, the nine fastest drivers of the day who will qualify for a run at the pole Sunday. That group was topped by Scott Dixon, three-time Indy 500 pole winner who lapped at 231.827 mph.

Colton Herta ran second at 231.648 mph followed by Tony Kanaan, 2013 race winner who put a second Chip Ganassi Racing car in the top three speeds.

Ed Carpenter is a three-time pole winner (of just four career IndyCar poles) and clocked in fourth at 231.616 mph with Indianapolis Grand Prix winner Rinus Veekay the top five.

Alex Palou was sixth quickest at 231.145 mph, however, suffered a hard afternoon crash when he whipped sideways in Turn 2. The Spaniard over-corrected and pancaked the outside wall, causing significant-yet-repairable damage to his No. 10.

2014 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the Fast 9.

With positions 10-30 officially set for the Memorial Day running, the next group yet to know their fate is 31-35, the five slowest cars that will run for the final three positions on the Indy 500 grid.

A.J. Foyt Racing’s Dalton Kellett squeezed his way into the field, finishing the day 30th at 228.323 mph.

“It’s exciting, it’s what the fans want,” Kellett said. “The Foyt guys gave me a good Chevy here. I managed to get that last run in. I’m happy we made the field.”

Behind him was Simona De Silvestro, who failed to lock herself into the field in 31st.

“It’s not the position you want to be in because it’s pretty nerve-racking,” Silvestro said.

In their first attempt at the 500, the female-driven Paretta Autosport team is led by driver Silvestro, the 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year attempting her sixth start in the race.

“The team changed the car completely over the two-hour break,” she said. “We just struggled today and yesterday trying to find the balance. It was close but tomorrow, we will just try to get into the field and see how we can get more work on the racecar.”

With Charlie Kimball, Sage Karam and Indy rookie RC Enerson returning on Bump Day Sunday, the shock of the afternoon came in the form of Team Penske and Will Power.

Winning the Indy 500 just three years ago, Power struggled to keep his No. 12 in the show, failing to secure his spot.

If you ask Power, he doesn’t know how.

“[Laughs], you need a scientist to work this one out,” Power said. “I guess we have to go tomorrow. We gave it our best shot today.

“I think if we take a conservative run tomorrow we should be OK. But if something goes wrong, you’re out. Definitely nerve-racking. We did everything we could.”

The Last-Row Shootout will begin Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The Fast 9 Shootout for pole will immediately follow at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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