Marco Andretti sets qualifying pace for Indy 500 pole battle

Marco Andretti was the quickest qualifier for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 pole place battle, cracking 232 mph on Saturday to steer a dominant exhibiting by Andretti Autosport drivers.

The 33-year-old grandson of 1969 Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti turned the quickest four-lap qualifying common at 231.351 mph (372.323 km/hr) across the 2 1/2-mile (4km) oval with a quick lap of 232.177 mph to start the run.

“We have the pace,” Andretti mentioned. “We have simply received to do it yet another time tomorrow.”

Saturday’s 9 quickest qualifiers superior to Sunday’s closing session to determine the beginning order within the entrance three rows for the 23 August race, postponed from 24 Might by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Stability was nice. Energy, Honda introduced it this 12 months. We simply must execute now,” Andretti mentioned. “It may come all the way down to all people doing their job.”

The “Quick 9” was paced by 4 Andretti Autosport racers: Andretti, People Ryan Hunter-Reay on 231.330 mph and Alexander Rossi at 231.268 mph and Canada’s James Hinchcliffe on 231.195 mph.

Becoming a member of them in qualifying order have been New Zealand’s Scott Dixon, Dutch 19-year-old rookie Rinus VeeKay, Spanish rookie Alex Palou, American Graham Rahal and Japan’s Takuma Sato, whose common of 230.792 mph edged American Colton Herta by zero.zero17 mph for the final spot within the high 9.

Automobiles that certified 10th to 33rd on Saturday’s pace chart, together with defending champion Simon Pagenaud of France and two-time System One champion Fernando Alonso of Spain, have been locked into spots within the final eight rows as the sector was crammed.

Previous winners Will Energy of Australia and Tony Kanaan of Brazil have been 22nd and 23rd respectively, on the within and center of row eight.

Pagenaud was 25th, on the within of row 9, on 228.836 mph, with Alonso in the course of row 9 in 26th on 228.768 mph.

There have been no spectators at Indianapolis Motor Speedway simply as there will not be on race day as a consequence of security considerations over the coronavirus pandemic.

Dixon, who received the 12 months’s first three races and leads within the hunt for his sixth profession season title, had the quickest single lap on Saturday at 232.356 mph.

It got here on the primary lap of a run on the finish of the day that averaged 231.560 mph via three laps earlier than he backed off on the finish, content material to avoid wasting the remaining for Sunday when the pole is at stake.

“We have been simply checking just a few issues for tomorrow, making an attempt to get the correct stability,” Dixon mentioned. “You is perhaps preventing over such small quantities tomorrow.”

Dixon’s late run despatched a message that the Andretti automobiles won’t be sweeping the entrance row, a feat achieved solely as soon as at Indy, by Roger Penske Racing in 1988.

“The automotive is there with a shot,” Dixon mentioned. “I feel we’ll have a very good shot tomorrow. I predict (Andretti) will come out with some extra for tomorrow.”

Andretti, who has received solely twice in 236 begins over 15 IndyCar seasons, expects a Sunday pole shootout along with his teammates and Dixon.

“Scotty simply confirmed what he can do for 3 laps. It may be shut,” Andretti mentioned. “We will play tomorrow. That is the enjoyable half.”

Andretti completed second in his 2006 Indy 500 debut. His solely entrance row begin was from the skin in 2013.

Michael Andretti, Marco’s father and workforce proprietor, was shocked to search out 4 of his entries atop the pace chart.

“I felt fairly good final night time,” he mentioned. “However I did not count on it to be this good.”

As for his son’s possibilities at taking the pole, Andretti famous Marco’s run got here within the warmth of the day, simply as Sunday’s pole run is prone to occur.

“If he is out when it is cool or with all people else, he has received a shot,” Michael Andretti mentioned.

Saturday’s qualifying outcomes for the 104th Indianapolis 500, with positions 1-9 advancing to Sunday’s entrance row qualifying classes and positions 10-33 filling out the race discipline (Driver, time and pace common for 4 laps across the 2.5-mile oval):

Qualifiers for Sunday’s Pole Runs

1. Marco Andretti (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2mins 35.6078secs (231.351 mph)

2. Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.6217 (231.330)

three. Alexander Rossi (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.6638 (231.268)

four. James Hinchcliffe (CAN), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.7126 (231.195)

5. Scott Dixon (NZL), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.7396 (231.155)

6. Rinus VeeKay (NED), Dallara-Chevy, 2:35.7674 (231.114)

7. Alex Palou (ESP), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.8213 (231.034)

eight. Graham Rahal (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.9641 (230.822)

9. Takuma Sato (JPN), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.9844 (230.792)

Qualifiers for Indy 500 grid

Row 4

10. Colton Herta (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:35.9962 (230.775)

11. Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1374 (230.566)

12. Spencer Pigot (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.1557 (230.539)

Row 5

13. Josef Newgarden (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.3203 (230.296)

14. Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.3491 (230.254)

15. Pato O’Ward (MEX), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.3769 (230.213)

Row Six

16. Ed Carpenter (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.3781 (230.211)

17. Zach Veach (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.5484 (229.961)

18. Conor Daly (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.5525 (229.955)

Row Seven

19. Santino Ferrucci (USA), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.5736 (229.924)

20. Jack Harvey (GBR), Dallara-Honda, 2:36.6161 (229.861)

21. Oliver Askew (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.6852 (229.760)

Row Eight

22. Will Energy (AUS), Dallara-Chevy, 2:36.7252 (229.701)

23. Tony Kanaan (BRA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.0993 (229.154)

24. Dalton Kellett (CAN), Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.2880 (228.880)

Row 9

25. Simon Pagenaud (FRA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.3180 (228.836)

26. Fernando Alonso (ESP), Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.3646 (228.768)

27. James Davison (AUS), Dallara-Honda, 2:37.3789 (228.747)

Row Ten

28. Helio Castroneves (BRA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:37.6368 (228.373)

29. Charlie Kimball (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:38.0625 (227.758)

30. Max Chilton (GBR), Dallara-Chevy, 2:38.3789 (227.303)

Row Eleven

31. Sage Karam (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:38.5210 (227.099)

32. JR Hildebrand (USA), Dallara-Chevy, 2:39.0518 (226.341)

33. Ben Hanley (GBR), Dallara-Chevy, 2:41.4948 (222.917)

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