Qualifying for the 107th Indianapolis 500 is Saturday, and with 34 cars trying to fit into 33 spots there will be at least one unhappy driver and team by the end of the weekend. Chances are good that the Ganassi flyers will not be one of them, as Chip Ganassi's team has picked up right where they left off last year at the Brickyard. They have flashed speed in the late April test and were the early talk of the paddock after both Takuma Sato and Scott Dixon went 229 mph, with the help of a tow, to open testing on Wednesday.
Defending Indy 500 champion Marcus Ericsson and teammate Alex Palou were seventh and fourth fastest, respectively, as Honda claimed six of the top fastest speeds run. But those speeds were run with help, as drivers used the draft to set up an all-out speed run. Rinus Veekay put up the fastest non-tow speed at 225.833 mph in his Chevrolet-powered car for Ed Carpenter Racing, so it may take an average speed approaching 227 or more to capture Saturday's pole.
How to watch qualifying for the 107th Indianapolis 500
- Date: Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21
- Location: 2.5-mile (4.02-kilometer), four-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Time: Saturday: 11 a.m. ET (Peacock), 2.30 p.m. ET (NBC); Sunday: 11.30 a.m. ET (Peacock), 2 p.m. ET (NBC)
- TV: NBC, Peacock
- Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
How it's done
Qualifying for the race will be conducted over two days. Saturday's session will lock cars into spots 13-30. Sunday will feature two sessions for the top 12 cars, the first setting grid spots 7-12, the second settling the pole and remaining spots 2-6. The final row, grid spots 31-33, are squeezed between those two sessions.
Who to watch for
Well, aside from the Ganassi guys, you always have to keep an eye out for the usual suspects of Team Penske and Andretti Autosport. Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan seems to be on an upswing after a good showing on the road course at Indianapolis a week ago, and Ed Carpenter Racing are usually in the mix at their home track.
The flyers to keep an eye out for are A.J. Foyt Racing, who slipped Santino Ferrucci into the third spot on Wednesday. If they can continue to build on that speed there will be one very happy Texan at the end of the Memorial Day race. Struggling early were McLaren, but it's early days, isn't it?
It could be getting late fast for Romain Grosjean, though. The Andretti Autosport driver didn't look comfortable in traffic during the late April test and still looked uncomfortable on Wednesday. So that will be a situation to keep an eye out on.
Had the field been set from Wednesday's times, Grosjean would have made the show but starting 30th, just ahead of the last row of Katherine Legge (making her return to the Brickyard), Christian Lundgaard and rookie RC Enerson. Callum Ilott would have been the odd man out, as the Juncos Hollinger driver struggled mightily in the late April test and the struggles were such on Wednesday that the team was considering going to a different chassis. They have until Saturday to get it straightened out.