Chip Ganassi Racing and Honda scored a third successive Indianapolis 500 pole, with Alex Palou delivering the top time in a top three separated by just 0.0676s over 10 miles.
Palou was a dark horse outsider for pole but his 234.217mph average – covering four laps and 10 miles in just 2m33.7037s – wasn’t bested by any of the drivers who followed him.
His last lap tailed off significantly and Palou pointed that out on the radio, but it was still enough and stands as the fastest ever four-lap pole run after beating Scott Dixon’s run from last year.
“It means the world to me,” said Palou after screaming with passion after it was clear his lap was enough.
Felix Rosenqvist for Arrow McLaren was the top car through three of four laps, but his final lap tailed off and he had to settle for third as Palou watched on.
Rosenqvist had set the fastest time in the top 12 qualifying session to get the honour of being the last car to run but he still couldn’t upset Palou’s day.
S(pain) without the S.@AlexPalou broke Instagram. pic.twitter.com/Awdm4KU9ip
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 21, 2023
Starting ahead of him was Rinus VeeKay, who has started fourth, third, third and now second in his four attempts qualifying for the event for the top Chevrolet team Ed Carpenter Racing.
Behind Rosenqvist was one of the stories of the month, as Santino Ferrucci gave the minnow AJ Foyt team a spectacular start.
It’s the team’s best start since 2001 and Ferrucci has never qualified higher than 15th at the event, despite finishing in the top 10 in all four of his appearances at the event. Starting further forward is a big chance for the American driver.
Pato O’Ward is another driver with his best Indy 500 start in fifth for Arrow McLaren, ahead of Dixon.
They were among the first runners and didn’t quite have enough to fight for pole, but scored a strong start when starting position is crucial at the 500.
The teams will practice on Monday and Friday before the race next Sunday.
“We weren’t good enough.”
Graham Rahal was overcome with emotion after being bumped by Jack Harvey. #INDY500 pic.twitter.com/FJeeTjcOUx
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 21, 2023
Earlier in the day, Jack Harvey bumped out Rahal Letterman Lanigan team-mate Graham Rahal at the last possible attempt in the bump day Last Chance qualifying.