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Scott Dixon claims pole for 99th Indianapolis 500

Jul 23, 2014
dixon 500 pole.jpg

Even after extensive delays caused by weather and last-minute regulation changes on the day of Time Trials, Scott Dixon could not be slowed down as he took pole position for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The 2008 winner and pole-sitter completed his four-lap run at an average speed of 226.760 miles per hour, to start on the front row. Alongside Dixon will be the winner of last week's Grand Prix of Indianapolis and defending IndyCar Series champion, Will Power, and his Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, last year's Indy GP winner.

Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing cars locked out the top five spots on the grid, with three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves lined up in the middle of the second row, surrounded by 2013 champion Tony Kanaan on the inside, and Justin Wilson on the outside, the fastest Honda qualifier in his first Indy 500 start for Andretti Autosport.

Saturday's qualifying session was rained out, which meant that the entirety of Time Trials to set the field for next weekend's race was condensed into a single Sunday running.

But Ed Carpenter's heavy crash on Sunday morning - the third rollover incident involving a Chevrolet driver in four days of running, following Castroneves' shunt on Wednesday and Josef Newgarden's crash on Thursday - forced IndyCar officials to make drastic changes in the qualifying procedures on the day of qualifications. The "Fast Nine" shootout was scrapped, each car would get just a single run for pole, and all cars had to qualify with their race setups and reduced turbo boost pressure.

For now, the 1996 qualification records of Arie Luyendyk will stand, as IndyCar, Chevrolet, and Honda seek a safer solution for next year's race. Worryingly, James Hinchcliffe, who is set to start from the outside of row eight, sustained an injury to his upper left thigh that required surgery after a hard crash in Turn 3 during Monday practice, and his status for Sunday remains doubtful.

Of note, defending Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay will have a long climb to defend his title, as he'll start the #28 DHL Dallara/Honda on the inside of row six - but last year, he won from the seventh row of the grid in a thrilling last-laps duel with Castroneves. Reigning Indy Lights champion Gabby Chaves was the fastest of the two Indy 500 rookies in this year's field and starts in the middle of the tenth row. Bryan Clauson, the two-time USAC midget and sprint car champion - a "throwback" in this year's field - held onto the 33rd and final starting spot after 1996 winner Buddy Lazier failed to post a four-lap run in the final minutes.

What was your take on Time Trials this weekend? Leave a comment below, and for more IndyCar discussion, visit our IndyCar sub-forum!

Image Credit: INDYCAR
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Darren Bentley

Feb 22, 2011
Personally I've NEVER liked Oval racing, just doesn't interest me and after seeing what has happened already, Indycar is going to learn the hard way what aerodynamics can do when it goes wrong and isn't properly managed, yeah the cars look great but flying cars doesn't look great for them

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Staff member
Dec 26, 2006
I fear the worst for the Indy 500 with all those crashes this week. :(


May 18, 2015
Let's get the chevys to pull in on the pace lap too..... I have a feeling this race might turn out to be like us 2005


Jan 10, 2010
Below is a quote from Racer Magazines forums. I know the Indy Car haters will come out of the woodwork on this one.
It sounds like the tub did everything it was supposed to , and along with the SAFER barrier and the excellent work of the safety crew, Hinch was able to survive.

"Carbon fiber is inherently weak to penetration impacts. To counteract that, they put aluminum honeycomb, as well as layers of Zylon, a material that is stronger than the Kevlar they use in bulletproof vests. Over the years, the tub has gotten more and more Zylon and its often said to be the safest (and most overbuilt) tub in racing, far surpassing the standards used even in F1.

But the reality of these impacts is that the forces are truly astronomical, and after a part failure at 230mph+ in the worst possible place on the track, that steel suspension member hit the wall with nearly the perfect angle for it to be rammed straight through the tub. Short of warship grade armoring on the tub, I'm not sure how you stop that."
Jul 23, 2014
Disclosure/commentary time: I wasn't happy with the way reunification turned out. I boycotted INDYCAR for all of 2012 after the Wheldon accident and was still hesitant and critical of them for a while after getting back into it.

I feel a lot better about INDYCAR under Mark Miles and Derrick Walker. I feel a lot better about the safety of the DW12 than I have with any other car like it, especially its' predecessors in the series. That Helio, Josef, and Carpenter - and Pippa Mann as well - all walked away from their accidents is a testament to that. Hinch's accident was a freak accident that would be bad in any car at that speed - and it came right on the feet of the rollovers last week.

Everyone has a right to be concerned about the safety of the race next weekend, but as little as four years ago it could have been way, way worse. My hope is that Hinchcliffe can recover in a couple months and be as good as before.
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Ole Marius Myrvold

JWB 96-13
Staff member
Sep 29, 2009
I truly agree with Tony Kanaan on this

The other aforementioned drivers (Helio, Newgarden, Carpenter)escaped without so much as a cut.

"First and foremost we need to understand that this is very dangerous sport," Kanaan said. "It's always been since the 1900s. How many people can we name who are not with us because something happened in the race car? (Drivers) are fully aware of that.

Kanaan said the sport appears safe and sterile until someone gets injured.

"Every time we hop in that race car we don't know if we're going to come out of it, if we're going to come out of it in one piece, if something is going to happen to you, and that's what we have to live with. That's what makes us different than other people. That's why not everybody can do this.

"It is tough. It's never easy to see a dear friend of yours get hurt or lose a friend of yours. But this is the sport we chose."

Kanaan had similar crashes at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan in 2003 and in Turn 3 at IMS in 2009. He broke his leg in the first, three ribs in the second.

"I was luckier than Hinch," he said. "(In Japan) the suspension came inside the bottom of my leg. They were pretty similar accidents and mechanical things happen."

Kanaan said there is no additional reason for concern aside from the obvious.

"Are we going to have all the answers that we wanted to have? No, but I don't we've ever had or ever will have," he said. "I'm not concerned. I'm ready to do a good show for the fans that are coming to watch us. Accidents happen. We hate them, but it's part of our job."

Michael Watts

XB1 Gamertag: michaei watts
Sep 18, 2011
Face it, Racing is inherently dangerous, the drivers know this. You can try and plan for safety in every aspect, but there are always going to be instances that push and test the limits of every possible scenario. The Wheldon crash was a good example of that, and now this Hinchcliffe accident will show us another area to improve upon. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast and some scenarios can't be foreseen until serious injury occurs. All we can do is learn and adjust for future instances. If racing was completely without risk wouldn't we all do it?

Andrew Harper

Dec 1, 2014
Yes I think that Indycar have done the right thing to try and make the race safer after the accidents so far. The cars are very tough compared to before. The reduction in boost is a good idea and should help. If that still doesn't work get them to run the Hanford device again, the slipstream effect from that add-on was incredible! haha.

Watching Castroneves accident worried me only because to begin with it was a nothing incident. The car just wobbled in the corner, it happens. As the car comes round though, the speed at which the air got underneath and launched him was pretty scary.

I was lucky enough to see Champcar when it came to Rockingham in the UK and although I don't get to see the races on satellite now (just can't afford the extra Mr. Sky....) I really hope everyone has a safe race :thumbsup:

(Might try a sneaky internet stream though.....:D)
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