Dixon Holds Top Spot All Day; Power Looks to Make Race

Some thoughts on today’s action:

While Scott Dixon set the bar as the first qualifier, the hotter conditions as the day went on kept his closest challengers at bay. Tomorrow, Dixon will go last. His biggest challengers tomorrow will be Colton Herta ,Tony Kanaan, and Ed Carpenter. I would not be shocked to see Rinus VeeKay or Alex Palou make a strong as well.

Will Power had a tough day today and might have an even tougher day tomorrow. If I understand the rules correctly, power will be the fifth driver on track in the Last chance Shootout. The good news is he will know exactly what he needs. Still, Power sometimes puts a lot of pressure on himself. i hope he doesn’t allow that to get in his way.

It is a great achievement by Chip Ganassi Racing to get all four of their cars in the Fast Nine.

Helio Castroneves seems motivated to prove a point to his former team. he had a great qualifying effort today.

The fast nine by teams:

Gansssi 4

Carpenter 2

Andretti 2

Meyer Shank 1

I wonder how Alex Palou’s car will perform tomorrow after that hard hit he had on his second attempt.

Dalton Kellett played defense by making the late run with time running out. He prevented power from getting another chance.

I’m not sure Simona DeSilvestro has much more speed in that car. It would be a shame to see her miss the race. That team looks to be one of the more organized teams in the garage area.

Top Gun Racing achieved a lot just by having the car make a qualifying run. They don’t seem to have the pace to make the show. I hope they can build on their experience and come back in 2022 with a stronger program.

Disappointing runs- Alexander Rossi, Jack Harvey, Conor Daly, Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal, and Pato O’Ward. I thought a few of theses drivers would in the Fast Nine.

Nice surprises- Ryan Hunter-Reay in the Fast Nine, Ed Jones and Pietro Fittipaldi qualifying 11th and 13th.

Something you don’t see every year- The highest Team penske qualifier was Scott McLaughlin in 17th. Something is not right in this camp.

The drama tomorrow centers on power. Can the former race winner make the field, or will he join other former winners in failing to qualify? Remember Team Penske with former winners Al Unser, Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi failed to qualify in 1995. Other former winners who have failed to qualify include Bobby Rahal, Johnny Rutherford, and Johnnie Parsons. Parsons did start the 1957 race as a last minute substitute.

Off Track

I hope the video boards and the scoring pylon work consistently tomorrow. For much of the day, timing information and standings were missing. Late in the day it would have been nice to have the time to beat displayed in the upper left corner of the screen.

It seemed to be a normal sized qualification day crowd.. Most people rehearsed for the June 7 lifting of the mask mandate in Marion County. IMS needs to step up enforcement. With general admission seating for the entire facility, social distancing was virtually non existent. IMS should have sold reserved seating for today and tomorrow.

It was nice to see the garage area come to life for the first time this week. there was a lot of energy among the teams, and I saw the most fans in gasoline Alley that i have seen all week.

The Fast Nine:

19Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda231.828
226Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda231.648
348Tony KanaanChip Ganassi RacingHonda231.639
420Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter RacingChevy231.616
521Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevy231.483
606Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda231.164
710Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda231.145
828Ryan Hunter-ReayAndretti AutosportHonda231.139
98Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda231.104

The five who need to qualify tomorrow. The fastest three make the race.

12Will PowerTeam PenskeChevy229.228
 24Sage KaramDreyer & Reinbold RacingChevy229.158
 11Charlie KimballAJ Foyt EnterprisesChevy228.401
 16Simona De SilvestroParetta AutosportChevy228.395
 75RC EnersonTop Gun RacingChevy227.283