Record-breaking Palou takes rapid Indy 500 pole as Rahal dramatically bumped by teammate

Jack Harvey provided huge drama at one end of the Indy 500 field as Palou stormed to pole positon

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Alex Palou set a new Indianapolis 500 record with an average speed of 234.217mph over four laps to take pole for the 107th running of the race.

A record-breaking ‘Fast Six’ session saw opening laps of more than 235mph for multiple drivers as Scott Dixon’s pole record from 2022 was smashed. Palou was the first to hit the 234mph average mark before Rinus VeeKay went just 0.006mph slower over 10 miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Felix Rosenqvist was the last man with a chance to take the pole away from the IndyCar series leader but the Arrow McLaren driver fell agonisingly short, qualifying third and on the outside of the front row for next week’s race. All of the front row were faster than Dixon’s pole time a year ago.

Santino Ferrucci couldn’t match his stunning effort in the ‘Fast 12’ but still qualified fourth for A.J. Foyt Enterprises alongside Pato O’Ward and Dixon.

Harvey at the death, Rahal out

The pressure was massively on for three of the four Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers in Last Chance qualifying. The team lacked speed all week but Katherine Legge did manage to make it into the show without the stress of Sunday.

Sting Ray Robb of Dale Coyne Racing joined Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey and Christian Lundgaard in the pressure cooker after seeing his teammate David Malukas sneak in late on Saturday.

Lundgaard and Robb got themselves comfortably safe with their guaranteed runs but it was much more tense for Harvey and Rahal. The latter snuck ahead of his British teammate on the opening runs, forcing Harvey to go again with five minutes left in the hour.

Conor Daly’s reaction on Twitter to Harvey’s last-gasp effort to make the Indy 500 field.

The 30-year-old gave it to goes and was slower on his first attempt but he made one last hail mary attempt, without cooling his engine, and went 0.007mph faster than Rahal to send the team owner’s son home a week early.

Rossi disappoints

Alexander Rossi was arguably the star of Saturday qualifying, posting a superb speed on his first and only run of the day. But things were not so simple on Sunday as the rising track temperatures saw the Californian end the ‘Fast 12’ seventh, where he’ll start the Indy 500.

His Arrow McLaren teammate Tony Kanaan also missed out on the ‘Fast Six’ as did Chip Ganassi Racing duo Takuma Sato and Marcus Ericsson, who are both former winners of this race. Benjamin Pedersen and Will Power were also bumped out of the top six in 11th and 12th.

Indy 500 final grid positions 2023

PosNameTeamSpeed (mph)
1Alex PalouChip Ganassi Racing234.217
2Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter Racing234.211
3Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren234.114
4Santino FerrucciA.J. Foyt Enterprises233.661
5Pato O’WardArrow McLaren233.158
6Scott DixonChip Ganassi Racing233.151
7Alexander RossiArrow McLaren233.110
8Takuma SatoChip Ganassi Racing233.098
9Tony KanaanArrow McLaren233.076
10Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi Racing232.889
11Benjamin PedersenA.J. Foyt Enterprises232.671
12Will PowerTeam Penske232.635
13Ed CarpenterEd Carpenter Racing233.689
14Scott McLaughlinTeam Penske233.677
15Kyle KirkwoodAndretti Autosport233.662
16Conor DalyEd Carpenter Racing232.433
17Josef NewgardenTeam Penske232.402
18Ryan Hunter-ReayDreyer & Reinbold Racing232.133
19Romain GrosjeanAndretti Autosport231.997
20Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank Racing231.954
21Colton HertaAndretti Autosport231.951
22Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank Racing231.878
23David MalukasDale Coyne Racing231.769
24Marco AndrettiAndretti Autosport231.682
25Stefan WilsonDreyer & Reinbold Racing231.648
26Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti Autosport231.353
27Agustin CanapinoJuncos Hollinger Racing231.320
28Callum IlottJuncos Hollinger Racing231.182
29RC EnersonAbel Motorsports231.129
30Katherine LeggeRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing231.070
31Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing229.649
32Sting Ray RobbDale Coyne Racing229.549
33Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing229.159
– DID NOT QUALIFY – Jack Harvey – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – 228.929
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Motorsport journalist, indyCar correspondent and F1 writer for Total-Motorsport.com
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