The first day of meaningful laps from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is complete. Here are the news and notes that you need to know before day two.
Indy 500 Qualifying: Will Power Did Not Have a Powerful Car
Saturday did not belong to the 2018 Indianapolis 500 champion, Will Power. Power finished in 31st after the first day of qualifying, meaning he does not have a guaranteed position in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing next Sunday.
Power will have to prove his worth in Last Chance Qualifying tomorrow from 1:15 until 2:30 PM ET. There are three spots available for five drivers. Power will compete against Charlie Kimball, Simona de Silvestro, RC Enerson, and Jack Harvey.
Power was straightforward, but confident about Last Chance Qualifying after ending the day one spot short of a guaranteed entry to the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500.
“If something goes wrong, you’re out, so it’s certainly nerve-wracking. We have the speed to be in the field tomorrow.”
Drivers will have unlimited attempts between 1:15 and 2:30 PM ET. There will undoubtedly be drama at the end of the Last Chance Qualifying. Will Power was ready to head out for another attempt today, but time expired as de Silvestro took the final laps of the day.
She did not capitalize on her opportunity and ended her day in 33rd place. If she can finish in 33rd tomorrow, the Switzerland native will have the final position in next Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Indy 500 Qualifying: Desire for Speed Wrecks Alex Palou
Alex Palou had the sixth-fastest time after his first run of the day at 231.828 mph. However, he elected to take a second qualifying attempt, which did not end up affecting his spot in tomorrow’s Fast Nine Shootout.
Palou ended the day in seventh place, but he is lucky that he will be driving tomorrow. The NTT IndyCar sophomore came out strong in his first lap posting a 231.959 mph lap speed. He followed it up with another fantastic average on lap two at 231.288.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 22, 2021
However, his attempt came to an abrupt ending on his third trip around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
His car was shaking after turn one, but the #10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda stayed on track heading into turn two. Although, in turn two, his rear tire slipped, and he began to drift. When it seemed like Palou started to gain control of the car, his front tire stuck, causing it to slam into the SAFER barrier.
The car was mangled after slamming into the wall, but the crash looked worse than it was for Palou. The 24-year-old was able to walk off the track on his own power after slamming his fists on the wheel.
Palou spent a little time in the IMS Medical Center before being cleared to head back to the track and speak with the media. He praised his car and took responsibility for the crash.
“Chip Ganassi Racing gave me the fastest car today and during the week. It was me who was trying to be faster. I just lost the rear on entry, and it was a big shame. Things happen. It’s what happens when you try to go fast and put everything to the limit. It’s going to be a long night for the car, but I will be with them, and we will try and fix it for tomorrow and go back out. I’m really sorry for the team.”
Expect Palou, the winner of the 2021 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, to bounce back with a vengeance on Sunday in the Fast Nine Shootout.
Indy 500: Scott Dixon Takes Advantage of First Run
Scott Dixon, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, drew the first run of the day, and he did not waste the opportunity. Dixon averaged 231.828 mph in his four laps this morning, and nobody came close to besting this standard.
Colton Herta was second to Dixon with an average speed of 231.648 mph. These two drivers, along with Tony Kannan, Ed Carpenter, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Alex Palou, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Marcus Ericsson will round out the Fast Nine Shootout.
Dixon took advantage of the cool track temperatures this morning in Indianapolis to dominate the field. All drivers in the Fast Nine Shootout will receive one four-lap qualifying attempt beginning at 3:00 PM ET.
Indy 500: Sunday TV Schedule
Last Chance Qualifying: Coverage from 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network
Fast Nine Shootout: Coverage from 2:30 – 4:30 PM ET on NBC
For the complete list of results, click here.
Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.