Indianapolis 500: Primed for Pole Day

Heading into the Month of May, it was assumed the Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske race teams would dominate the speed charts at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  They had, after all, combined to win four of the first five races in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti made up four of the Top-5 drivers in the points championship heading into the Indianapolis 500.

They haven’t disappointed, posting the top two speeds during the first week of practice. Of course, that doesn’t mean the other teams fighting to make the field are willing to concede the pole-position to the “Big Two.”  In fact, Thursday afternoon brought a big change to the top of the speed chart, with Andretti Autoport’s Tony Kanann and Marco Andretti, and KV Racing Technology driver Paul Tracy making up the Top-3.

They were followed up Hideki Mutoh of Newman/Haas Racing, and former 500 winner Dan Wheldon, driving for Panther Racing.  The Penske cars weren’t far behind, with both Castroneves and Power turning laps at better than 226 MPH, but the emergence of several secondary teams has added a little intrigue on the eve of Pole Day.  Especially considering the new qualifying format set to be unveiled this weekend.

With qualifications being condensed into just two days, fans who make their way to IMS on what promises to be sunny Speedway, Indiana on Saturday will see the fastest 24 cars earn coveted spots in the field of 33.  The fun won’t end there, as the fastest nine cars will have their speeds wiped off the board, and the drivers will then compete in a 90-minute “shootout” for the pole.

If you’re planning on attending, Gates open at 7:00 am, and there will be a final practice session between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, with qualifying set to begin at 11:00 am.  Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $10.


For more news on the 94th running of the Indianapolis 500, continue to check back with throughout the week.