By: Spencer Neff
May 21, 2023
After starting his month of May with a dominant victory at the GMR Grand Prix, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou looked to continue the hot streak as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES moved to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
In qualifying, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion won pole for next Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The driver of the No. 10 turned in a 234.217 mph average on his four-lap run to secure Honda’s fourth consecutive “500” pole and CGR’s third in as many years (eighth overall). The .040 of a second is the second-narrowest margin of a pole win in the race’s 107 runnings (2012)
With his first career pole since Portland in 2021, Palou continues his streak of improving his starting position since his 2020 debut for Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh. Since debuting with a seventh-place start, Palou has started Sixth and second. In 2021, he finished runner-up to Hélio Castroneves.
Joining Palou on the front row will be the Chevrolet duo of Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and Felix Rosenqvist. It is the first time since 2019 that Chevrolet has earned multiple front row spot. VeeKay now has four consecutive Top 4 starts, including three consecutive front row starts at IMS.
After leading Saturday qualifying and the Fast 12 earlier in the afternoon, Arrow McLaren’s Felix Rosenqvist earned his first career front row start at the “500” (previous best was eighth last year. A.J. Foyt Racing’s Santino Ferrucci earned his best “500” start in fourth, the best for his team since Robby Gordon started third in 2oo1. Rosenqvist’s teammate Pato O’Ward will start fifth, a career best as he looks to improve on last year’s runner-up finish.
After two consecutive poles and three straight Top 2 starts, Palou’s teammate Scott Dixon qualified sixth, ultimately falling short of a record-breaking third in a row and record-tying sixth “500” pole. The jubilation and excitement of pole qualifying followed a dramatic and tense Last Row Shootout.
Last Row Shootout: Harvey bumps Rahal to join Lundgaard and Robb
The dynamics at Rahal Letterman Lanigan were the maj0r headline ahead of Sunday’s last row shootout. Their full-time trio of Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey and Graham Rahal were up against Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing’s Sting Ray Robb.
Lundgaard began the battle for the final three spots on the grid, posting a 229.649 four-lap average. Robb followed before Lundgaard’s teammates Harvey and Rahal completed their guaranteed runs.
It was Harvey on the outside looking following the initial efforts, trailing Rahal by .4689 of a second during his four-lap run.
In his second attempt, Harvey was first was faster by still .158 of a second off making the field.
As time expired in the hour-long session, Harvey went out and gained enough time on his last three laps to make his way, posting a 229.166 mph to Rahal’s 229.159. The margin between he and Rahal was a scant .0044 of a second, 007 of a mile per hour,
He and teammate Lundgaard (31st) will start from Row 11 for the second year. Last year, Lundgaard and Harvey were 31st and 32nd. Robb makes his “500” debut in 32nd on the grid.
30 years after his father Bobby was bumped from the “500” field and suffered a DNQ, Graham has the same misfortune.
Monday will feature a two-hour practice for the 33-car field, which averaged a record 232.164 across the 33 four-lap runs.
Streaming is available via Peacock.com with Timing and Scoring (including IndyCar Radio) from race control.indycar.com, the INDYCAR app powered by NTT DATA and SiriusXM Channel 160.
IndyCar1909 is on site at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will have continued updates for each on-track session. Check out our social media channels for even more content.
Header Image By Travis Hinkle/INDYCAR