SPEEDWAY, Ind. — It was not a day without drama on Sunday as the full field was set for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Alex Palou, with the fastest four-lap average for pole ever, turned four laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a whopping 234.217 mph. That is faster than Scott Dixon’s pole-speed record set in 2022.
“It was really close last year,” “We lost it against Dixon. “This year we know it was going to be even closer. We went aggressive and it worked. It’s been amazing for the 10-car, especially the month of May.”
Palou is joined by Rinus Veekay and Felix Rosenqvist on the front row that will lead the field to the green flag on race day. Veekay was only slower than Palou by .006 at 234.211 mph. That is the second closest gap between first and second after qualifying all-time.
Rosenqvist ended up being the fastest Arrow McLaren car securing the 3rd spot at 234.114 mph. Overall this is the fastest front row in the history of the race leading the fastest overall field ever.
Palou’s speed is also the second-fastest qualifying speed all-time only slower than Arie Luyendyk’s 236.986 mph from 1996. Luyendyk started 20th that year since that speed came the day after Pole Day.
Rahal Bumped By Teammate Harvey
The drama was palpable mid-afternoon before the front row was set in stone as the last last row was also set in stone. The four drivers who duked it out for the final three sports were Christian Lundgaard, Sting Ray Robb, Graham Rahal, and Jack Harvey.
The former two drivers made it into the field with one run, Lundgaard at 229.649 and Robb at 229.549, respectively.
The battle for the 33rd spot would come between teammates Rahal and Harvey.
Rahal went out first with a four-lap average of 229.159 mph. Harvey was unable to best that in his first run, which is when the game of cat and mouse with the clock on the hour-long session began.
After taking another run at reduced speed to cool down his engine, Harvey then made a third run with an average of 228.929 mph… still not fast enough.
“The car was hot, the engine was hot. They said ‘yeah, you’ve got to try it’,” Harvey said.
With a hot engine and a slight mechanical tweak to the car, Harvey made a last-ditch effort as time expired, all with Rahal sitting in his car hoping his speed would hold up. It did not.
Harvey miraculously found enough speed in his final run at 229.166, just .007 mph faster than Rahal, bumping his teammate from the race.
“It’s not a moment for celebrating,” Harvey said. “As a team, we’re going to be starting (30th), 31st, and 33rd. It’s like the Hunger Games with our own team. But, it’s unbelievable relief, to be honest with you. Massively grateful to be in the race, upset that it had to be a teammate.”
Rahal, just like his father Bobby Rahal in 1993, will not roll to the green flag with the field on race day next Sunday. Harvey said it was a tough conversation with Rahal both before and after Last Chance Qualifying.
“You have a professional side and a personal side,” said Harvey. “Graham is one of the most professional guys on the grid. We felt like it would kind of be me or him. Everybody knows it’s not personal. It’s tradition. Bump Day is notorious.”
When the drivers line up for the start of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28th, it will be the fastest-qualified field in the history of the race. It will be an all-European from row with all six part-time or one-off teams making the field.
Drivers will have two hours of practice coming up on Monday to dial in their race day setups. They will then take Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off, before returning for one more hour of practice on Carb Day Friday.
On race day, the green flag is set to drop at 12:45 pm EDT. You can listen to the race locally live with both local coverage and the IMS Radio Network on 93 WIBC as well as 93.5 and 107.5 The Fan
Top 20 College Athletes With The Highest NIL Valuations
Funniest College Football Player Names Of 2023
Colts Notebook: Shane Steichen Talks Release Of Shaquille Leonard
20 Last Place Punishments For Your 2023 Fantasy Football League
Why Release Shaq Leonard Now?
5 Things Learned: Colts Finally Close Out Home Win
Week 14 AFC Playoff Look: Colts Strengthen Playoff Position
5 Things Learned: Colts Win Wild Overtime Game