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Alex Palou squeezed out every last bit of speed his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda could give him, averaging 234.217 mph over four laps for the fastest pole in the history of the Indianapolis 500, becoming the first Spaniard to qualify for the top spot for race. Palou held off Ed Carpenter Racing's hard-charging Rinus VeeKay, who was ever so close at 234.211 in what was the second-closest margin between the two top qualifiers in Indy 500 history. Arrow McLaren's Felix Rosenqvist completes the front row at 234.114, meaning that all three drivers were faster than last year's pole-winning speed of 234.046 mph by CGR's Scott Dixon. 

"We knew we had to go aggressive, to trim the car a lot to get a good first lap and try to be consistent," Palou told "The fourth lap was really tough to keep it flat, but we did it. I knew it was one chance only."

It is the third pole in a row for Chip Ganassi's team as Dixon also took the honor in 2021 for the Honda-powered outfit. Dixon will start from the second row on May 28 with A.J. Foyt Enterprise's Santino Ferrucci (233.661) and the McLaren of Pato O'Ward (2233.158) after managing a four-lap average of 233.151. 

The battle for the top of the grid looked to be pitting one heavyweight team in CGR against another in McLaren, who each placed four cars in the Fast 12 that started off Day 2 of qualifying. After that was whittled down to the Fast 6, both CGR and McLaren still had a pair of hot shoes vying for the pole, with Palou coming out on top for Honda. Chevrolet then managed to secure the next four spots on the grid thanks to VeeKay, Rosenqvist, Ferrucci and O'Ward as GM's bow-tie division placed eight cars in the Fast 12 (Alexander Rossi, Tony Kanaan, rookie Benjamin Pedersen and Will Power in seventh, ninth, 11th and 12, respectively) to Honda's four, including defending Indy 500 race winner Marcus Ericsson, who will start 10th.

And as dramatic and tense as the battle for the pole was, the rollercoaster of emotions for the final three spots in the field, being contested by four cars, was just as tense. With Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan only able to place one of their cars in the race on Day 1 of qualifying — that being the car of part-time driver Katherine Legge — the team's remaining drivers of Christian Lundgaard, Jack Harvey and Graham Rahal, son of team owner Bobby Rahal, were in position of possibly knocking one of their teammates out should the car of Dale Coyne Racing's Sting Ray Robb split them on the last row. And that's exactly what happened as Lundgaard managed to qualify in 31st, followed by Robb and then Rahal, leaving Harvey the odd-man out. As time kept counting down to the end of qualifying, Harvey's crew sent him out for a second try after making major trim changes to the car. Still he wasn't fast enough, and so with nothing left to lose, they made one more change and instructed him to do what he could in the car with the weight-jacker to find the balance he needed. 

"I would go out and leave the next guy no time to try to bump you," Bobby Rahal said, when asked what the strategy for his team would be, regardless of the tussle being between teammates.  

Harvey was on the track as the horn blew, ending qualifying and giving Graham Rahal no opportunity to try to bump him should he succeed. And he did, pipping his teammate and friend from the field by averaging 229.166, just 44 10-thousandths of a second faster than Graham Rahal.

"I don't know what to say," Harvey explained afterward. "It's been a struggle. The first two runs weren't awesome. I'm grateful to be in the race. It's such a privilege, but it's bittersweet. I knocked my teammate out. … It's an amazing feeling and an awful feeling at the same time."

Perhaps it was because, 30 years ago, his father had suffered a similar fate when he failed to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1993, but Graham Rahal seemed to have accepted the result was possible long before it actually occurred, and reflected after Harvey had bumped him that "this place … this place doesn't come easy. And today we weren't good enough. I knew from the start we were in trouble." 

Starting grid for the 107th Indianapolis 500 on May 28

  1. Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing
  2. Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing
  3. Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP
  4. Santino Ferrucci, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
  5. Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP
  6. Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
  7. Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren SP
  8. Takuma Sato, Chip Ganassi Racing
  9. Tony Kanaan, Arrow McLaren SP
  10. Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing
  11. Benjamin Pedersen, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
  12. Will Power, Team Penske
  13. Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
  14. Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske
  15. Kyle Kirkwood, Andretti Autosport
  16. Conor Daly, Ed Carpenter Racing
  17. Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
  18. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dreyer & Reinbold
  19. Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport
  20. Helio Castroneves, Meyer Shank Racing
  21. Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport
  22. Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing
  23. David Malukas, Dale Coyne Racing
  24. Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta w/Curb-Agajanian
  25. Stefan Wilson, Dreyer & Reinbold
  26. Devlin DeFrancesco, Andretti Steinbrenner
  27. Agustin Canapino, Juncos Hollinger Racing
  28. Callum Ilott, Juncos Hollinger Racing
  29. RC Enerson, Abel Motorsports
  30. Katherine Legge, Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan
  31. Christian Lundgaard, Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan
  32. Sting Ray Robb, Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR
  33. Jack Harvey, Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan