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Dixon Unleashes Fastest Run Since 1996 To Win Pole for 101st Indianapolis 500

Scott Dixon powered to the pole for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday with the fastest qualification run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 21 years.

Dixon, from Auckland, New Zealand, produced the top run in the Fast Nine Shootout, turning a four-lap average of 232.164 mph in the No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to earn his third Indianapolis 500 pole and the $100,000 Verizon P1 Award. He won from the pole in 2008 and also drove to the top spot in 2015, when he finished fourth.

The blistering qualifying attempt by Dixon was the quickest pole run since Scott Brayton in 1996 at 233.718 mph. Arie Luyendyk produced the fastest qualifying run in Indianapolis 500 history one day after Brayton in 1996, with a run of 236.986 mph on the second day of qualifications.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” Dixon said of qualifying. “When you’re sitting, ready to go out and someone puts up a big time, hearing the crowd after the run was epic.

“It’s always a good feeling to be here at Indianapolis. When you win the pole, it’s not the race win, but obviously it’s big on its own. The race is the big one. As you mature, you start to appreciate the history here. I feel very blessed and privileged to have won here once. I come back every year and try to duplicate that.”

The 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil starts at noon (ET) Sunday, May 28. The race also will be televised live on ABC, with the pre-race show starting at 11 a.m. (ET). Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio will provide live coverage of the race to its affiliates and on Sirius 212, XM 209 and SXM 970.

View Starting Grid

Ed Carpenter will start second after his qualifying run averaged 231.664 mph in the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet.

Carpenter, from Indianapolis, was the fastest driver during qualifying Saturday, placing him last in the qualifying line for the Fast Nine Shootout, with the coolest track temperatures of the session. But he was unable to topple Dixon, who was the third-to-last driver to qualify during the Fast Nine.

Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi will complete the front row for this year’s race, starting third after a run of 231.487 mph in the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda.

Takuma Sato qualified fourth at 231.300 in the No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda. Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso will start fifth after a run of 231.300 in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda.

JR Hildebrand will round out the second row, starting sixth after a run of 230.889 in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet.

The third row is comprised of the remaining Fast Nine Shootout competitors, with 2013 race winner Tony Kanaan starting seventh (230.828), Marco Andretti eighth (230.474) and Will Power ninth (230.200).

2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay also joined the speed parade by leading qualifying for positions 10 through 33 on the grid earlier in the afternoon. Hunter-Reay will start 10th in the No. 28 DHL Honda after a run of 231.442, which would have put him fourth on the starting grid if he earned a spot in the Fast Nine Shootout.

James Davison will start 33rd in the field after being named as the replacement driver for the injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 18 GEICO Honda. Bourdais underwent successful surgery Saturday night for pelvic injuries he sustained while attempting to qualify Saturday. He sustained multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip in the incident. 

“I want to thank everybody for the support and the messages, quite a few drivers have already dropped by,” Bourdais said. “It’s going to take time, but I’m feeling pretty good since the surgery. I’ll be back at some point. Just don’t know when yet!”

Practice is scheduled from 12:30-4 p.m. (ET) Monday, the second-to-last chance for drivers and teams to prepare for Race Day. Final practice is scheduled for 11 a.m.-noon Friday on Miller Lite Carb Day.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on Sunday, May 28 and for more information on the complete Month or May schedule at IMS.

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