2021 IndyCar Series Champion and current points leader Alex Palou outlasted five other drivers with a four-lap average of 234.217 MPH to capture his first career Indianapolis 500 pole along with becoming the 1st Spaniard to secure pole for this Sunday’s 107th running of The Indianapolis 500, giving Chip Ganassi Racing a third consecutive Indianapolis 500 pole.
“It means the world to me now,” Palou said. “It was really tight, but the 10 car crew did an amazing job. Super proud of the work they did all month, all year to get to this point. We knew we had to go aggressive, to trim the car a lot to get a good first lap and try to be consistent. The fourth lap was really tough to keep it flat, but we did it. I knew it was one chance only.”
“It was not ideal, honestly,” Palou said of watching the last three qualifying attempts. “It was tougher than doing the four laps.”
Not just any pole. The #Indy500 pole.#INDYCAR // @AlexPalou pic.twitter.com/GLipZSQfmn
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 23, 2023
Along with Palou on the front row is Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay in his No. 21 Chevrolet, who will start second after laying down a four-lap average of 234.211 MPH. The margin between Palou and VeeKay was the second closest margin in terms of speed in Indianapolis 50o history (.006 MPH). Rounding out the front row with Palou and VeeKay is one of four Arrow McLaren drivers to make the 500 field in Felix Rosenqvist.
With 34 entries for the 500, bump day was back for this year’s race. Christian Lundgaard, Sting Ray Robb, and Jack Harvey were able to secure the final three spots in the 33-car field in an incredibly drama-filled Last Chance Qualifying. Harvey bumped his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal by 44 thousandths of a second over the 10-mile qualifying run on the last attempt of the session. However, after Stefan Wilson was ruled out of the race due to injuries suffered during Monday’s practice session in a crash with Katherine Legge, Rahal will drive the No. 24 for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
This was the fastest field in Indianapolis 500 history. The average speed for the 33-car field was 232.184 MPH, shattering the record of 231.023 MPH set last year.