It took a second qualifying attempt, but Scott Dixon successfully knocked his Target Chip Ganassi Racing
teammate -- 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon – off the top of the time sheets to claim his first
“500” pole in first-day qualifying Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After initially slotting into third behind Wheldon and Motegi race winner Danica Patrick at 225.178 mph,
Dixon elected to withdraw that qualifying time just after 3:30 p.m. and make a second run (of three
permitted). That four-lap average of 226.336 moved Dixon to the top of the time charts, and also
withstood a challenge from Wheldon in the final hour. Wheldon withdrew his previous speed of 225.840
mph and improved to 226.110 mph in his second run, but came up just short of Dixon.
Team Penske’s Ryan Briscoe also made two qualifying runs to move up from fifth to third, just ahead of
his teammate, two-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves. Patrick led the four-car Andretti Green Racing
effort at 225.197 mph, followed by teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti. Vitor Meira ran eighth
fastest for the single-car Panther Racing team, while Hideki Mutoh was the only one of 12 rookies in the
field to qualify today, rounding out the third row in ninth at 223.887 mph.
A total of 32 qualifying attempts were made during the noon-6 p.m. qualifying session to set the first 11
starting positions in the 33-car starting field. Second-day qualifying on Sunday will set the next 11 grid
positions, with qualifying for the final 11 positions and “bumping” taking place on May 17-18.
Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Pole Qualifier, his first Indianapolis 500 pole in
six attempts (best previous start was 4th in 2003, 2006 and 2007):
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It
means a lot. It’s the hard work that goes into it. Indy for our team starts well early in the winter with
months of planning and development. All the time that the guys put in back at the workshop, this is the
result. It’s all the effort on their part that makes the difference. I just put the pieces together."