Scott Dixon claims third career pole at Indy

By The Sports Xchange  |  May 21, 2017 at 7:49 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Scott Dixon added another achievement to his impressive IndyCar career.

Dixon won the pole for next week's Indianapolis 500, the third time he has been the top qualifier for the event.

With Sunday's run, the New Zealander became the ninth IndyCar driver in history with three poles at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dixon's other two were in 2008 and 2015, all for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Dixon's four-lap average of 232.164 mph was the fastest qualifying run at the Speedway since Arie Luyendyk's track-record run of 236.986 mph in 1996.

Ed Carpenter landed the second starting spot for the 101st 500 with a four-lap average of 231.664 mph. Alexander Rossi, who won last year's race as a rookie, grabbed the other front-row starting spot with an average speed of 231.487 mph.

Dixon led a strong afternoon of qualifying for Honda, which had six of the fastest nine qualifiers and 14 of the first 17. Chevrolet's best car was Carpenter's. His teammate, JR Hildebrand, will start sixth.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso continued to impress in his first 500 bid. The Spaniard briefly held the pole before settling for the fifth starting spot. He will try to join Graham Hill (1966) as an F1 champion winning Indy as a first-timer. Alonso's average was 231.300 mph.

Andretti Autosport placed three drivers in the first five -- Rossi, Takuma Sato (fourth) and Alonso -- and four in the first eight. Marco Andretti will start eighth.

Team Penske, which usually leads the Chevrolet brigade, struggled in qualifying. Its cars will start ninth (Will Power), 18th (Juan Pablo Montoya), 19th (Helio Castroneves), 22nd (Josef Newgarden) and 23rd (Simon Pagenaud) in the 33-car field.

Only 32 cars qualified. The 33rd car for next weekend's race will be driven by James Davison, who was named as Dale Coyne Racing's replacement for injured Sebastien Bourdais.

Bourdais sustained fractures of the pelvis and right hip in a Saturday crash in Turn 2. The Frenchman, who won four consecutive season championships a decade ago in the Champ Car World Series era of the sport, is expected to miss the rest of the season recovering from the injuries.

In special circumstances where the field isn't full of its traditional 33, IndyCar's rulebook allows for teams to add a car that hasn't qualified. Davison, a two-time 500 starter, drove for Dale Coyne's IndyCar team in the 2015 Indy 500.

After Alonso, Ed Jones will be the highest-starting rookie. He will be in the 11th position for Coyne's team. His four-lap average was 230.578 mph.

Buddy Lazier, who won the 1996 Indy 500, qualified for his 20th race at IMS. He will start 30th.

Six other former 500 winners will join him in next Sunday's race. The others are Dixon, Castroneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Montoya and Rossi.

Castroneves will try to tie A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with a fourth Indy 500 win.

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