Who will win? That’s the million dollar-plus question and payday for the one guy fortunate enough to beat the 32 other competitors at this year’s Memorial Day weekend showdown. After a more than a week of practice and qualifying, there’s no denying that a car from the Ganassi armada of five immaculately prepared cars is certainly a favorite. All five of Chip’s cars qualified within the Top 12. Perhaps the favorite is six-time series champion (and 2008 Indy 500 winner) Scott Dixon who’s had a slow start to the year but showed his strength in practice and especially in qualifying to win the pole with the fastest pole speed ever at the Brickyard with a speed of 234.046 mph in his PNC Bank Dallara Honda. His teammate (and last year’s series champ) Alex Palou will start in the middle of row one flanked by Rinus VeeKay from Ed Carpenter Racing in his Chevy powered Dallara.
It’s one thing to go fast with a tow (draft) and another to be fast on your own for four consecutive laps in qualifying. However, it’s going to be the driver with the best car to get through traffic and having flawless pit stops that will put them into a position to challenge for the win at the end of 200 laps. Of course luck can always play its part as well as good old fashioned race strategy. The race day forecast is for plenty of sunshine and a high of 81 degrees.
Two rookies with plenty of racing experience qualified in the Top 12 – Romain Grosjean, the fastest driver in the five-car Andretti Autosport stable, and Jimmie Johnson, another Ganassi entry. Our previous week’s guest on the podcast, Ed Carpenter, proved again that he can put fast cars on the track by qualifying fourth. Pato O’Ward (also in our previous podcast) who got bumped in 2019, qualified seventh this year and is very happy with his race car. He qualified just in front of his teammate Felix Rosenqvist. Where’s Team Penske? They’re in a better place than last year with Will Power being the quickest of their trio starting 11th after being in the last row last year. Two-time winner Takuma Sato will start in 10th for Dale Coyne Racing.
Who will drink the milk on Sunday? There are plenty of drivers who are capable. Can Helio Castroneves win his fifth? Can Joseph Newgarden continue his hot streak and win his first? There are eight former winners in the field and plenty of over-40 veterans versus the ambitious youngsters with stories spread throughout the field. Colton Herta sat on the pole at Long Beach and won on the Indianapolis road course two weeks ago so he’s also riding a strong wave of momentum. It should be another classic day at the Speedway back home again in Indiana. Enjoy!
NOTE: The race will be broadcast live on NBC at 8am PDT on Sunday, May29th. For a complete qualifying lineup and spotter’s guide, visit: https://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com/events/indy500/event-info/live-grid
You can also visit: www.IndyCar.com for additional information.
By Larry Mason
Copyright © 2022 Larry Mason
Shown in road course trim here (big wings front and rear), Scott Dixon qualified on pole with an all-time Indianapolis pole track record at over 234 mph! Can he convert his fifth pole here to win for the second time?
If Pato O’Ward has anything to say about it, he’ll take his Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to his second victory this season and the biggest win of his career!
Photos by Larry Mason