New Zealander Scott Dixon (Chip Janassi), already an IndyCar legend with six championship titles, will try to cement his position further by seeking a second title at the Indianapolis 500, where he begins on top on Sunday.
It will be the fifth time in his career, and the fourth in eight years, that the 41-year-old veteran driver will start at the front of the net on the famous 2.5-mile (4-kilometre) oval circuit, around which about 300,000 fans will be are present.
The 2008 winner, Dixon completed the last four qualifying laps, in “Fast 6,” with an average speed of 234.046 mph, or 376,586 km/h.
“The Pole is great and it’s a privilege, but everyone wants to win,” he remembers this week. “Inside the team, everyone feels very good in this situation, but not as good as when I won in 2008, so I want us to continue with that feeling.”
The ‘Kiwi’ driver will compete in his 20th race in the Indy 500. He has already completed 570 laps since his debut and can beat the record of 644 set by four-time winner Al Unser Sr.
Teammate IndyCar Champion Alex Ballou will start right behind him, hoping this time to do better than his runner-up last year, with Dutchman Rinus Vichai (Ed Carpenter Racing) completing the first row.
He passed the Spaniard on the penultimate lap of last year, Helio Castroneves (Mayer Shank). The Brazilian, who won his fourth title there in this race, will start today, Sunday, in 27th place on the ninth row, fellow Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, winner in 2019, starting from 16th place.
Grosjean, the first newcomer
“I did everything I knew how to do at the time. It was my first time driving an elliptical. It wasn’t easy. But I learned a lot from it,” Balu said.
Chip Ganassi dominated during qualifying, because their other three cars, led by Swede Marcus Ericsson (5th), Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, 2013 event winner (6) and former NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson (12), would start from the top four rows on the starting grid. Hoping to achieve a sixth victory, which would be the first since the victory of the Scotsman Dario Franchitti in 2012.
The grid of this 106th edition, the fastest in history with an average qualifying speed of 231,023 mph, or 371.795 km/h, features eight former winners and seven newcomers, including France’s Romain Grosjean (Andretti), the best among them in third place ninth row .
Australian Will Power (Penske), leader in the season’s general classification, will start in the middle of the fourth (11th) row.
Finally, among the records to be broken, as well as the possibility of Castroneves becoming the first five-time 500-mile winner, at 21-years-old Rinus VeeKay could become the youngest to win there ahead of American Troy Ruttman, who was 22 in 1952.
Definitely the best, because in the first line, he wouldn’t be the only one striving for this feat. Americans David Mallukas (Del Queen Racing), 20, and Colton Herta (Andretti), 22, will start in 13th and 25th, as well as Denmark’s Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan), 20, who will start from 31st. Moreover.
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