Alex Palou wins Indy 500 pole with record speed

May 21, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Chip Ganassi Racing driver Alex Palou (10) talks with team owner Chip Ganassi after his final fun for the pole position Sunday, May 21, 2023, during Firestone Fast Six qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500. Mandatory Credit: Mykal McEldowney-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mykal McEldowney-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Palou earned the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 in record fashion on Sunday, being clocked an average of 234.217 mph over four laps around 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Palou’s average speed surpassed the record of 234.046 that Scott Dixon set last year. This year’s race is next Sunday.

“It means the world to me now, to the boys, to everybody,” said Palou, referring to the Chip Ganassi Racing team.

It is the third consecutive pole won by Ganassi cars after Dixon was the polesitter in each of the previous two years.

“He did exactly what he needed to do. He’ll be the first to tell you it was a total team effort,” Ganassi said of Palou. “We’re going to sail into the 500 starting on the pole. We’re pretty excited.”

Rinus VeeKay (234.211) of Ed Carpenter Racing and Felix Rosenqvist (234.114) of Arrow McLaren were second and third, respectively, to land first-row spots.

“I got everything out of it. Wish I had just a little more,” VeeKay said. “It’s so close, and the thing really had a shot for the pole position, but also, I’m a bit spoiled to say that. This is only the start to the race.”

In the second row are Santino Ferrucci (A.J. Foyt Racing), Pato O’Ward (McLaren) and Dixon. Alexander Rossi (McLaren), Takuma Sato (Ganassi) and Tony Kanaan (McLaren) make up Row 3.

Defending champion Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi) qualified 10th, and provided a mixed review of his car’s prospects.

“All weekend we’ve been struggling to do four laps. It’s been an issue pretty much every day,” Ericsson said. “This morning we did three pretty good laps (in practice) and had a moment. I did stay flat out for four laps, but just had too much sliding.”

The average speed for the 33-car field is 232.184, breaking the record of 231.203 set last year.

–Field Level Media

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