INDIANAPOLIS – Alright, it’s time to set the field of 33 for next Sunday’s 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/NBC/INDYCAR Radio Network). A week of practice is now behind us with Time Trials on the horizon for this weekend.
So, the million dollar question is, who’s going to win the pole? Also, who are going to be the ones in the Fast Nine for Sunday and who’s going to be battling it out for the final row prior?
Here’s who I think.
20 Carpenter – He’s not afraid to hang it out there and his cars are lightning quick. Carpenter, has won the pole for this race in three of the last six years including just last May. He was second on the no tow list on Friday, eighth on Thursday and fifth on Tuesday.
12 Power – He narrowly misses it again. Last year’s Indy 500 champion is trying to be the first defending race winner to win the pole the following year. He doesn’t do it this year. Power, was fourth on the no tow on both Thursday and Friday and has three front row starting spots here in his last five tries.
63 Jones – This storybook month continues with a front row start for Jones. He was the only driver above 230 mph on the no tow report on Friday as he led the no tow for two straight days now. He was also third on Wednesday.
22 Pagenaud – He narrowly misses out on the front row but Pagenaud will start on the Inside of Row 2. The Frenchman was fifth on the no tow on Friday and third on Thursday. He’s started in the top nine in four of his last five tries here.
27 Rossi – He will find a way to wheel it up front. Rossi, was P3 on the no tow list on Friday and first on Wednesday. he started third in this race in 2017.
21 Pigot – Spencer gives ECR three cars in the top six here. Pigot, didn’t get a real clean no tow lap on Friday but was second on this list on Thursday.
9 Dixon – Mr. reliable will be there again. Dixon, started in Row 3 last year and he does said again next Sunday. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver was eighth on the no tow on Friday and he bumps his way into the Fast Nine late in the day on Saturday.
2 Newgarden – The current series points leader earns his fifth top nine start in six years. Newgarden, was ninth on the no tow on Friday as well as Thursday too.
15 Rahal – He finds his way in. Rahal, has qualified in the top 10 in every race this season and Indy is no exception. Rahal, was P6 on the no tow list on Friday.
31. 66 Alonso – He lands in the drop zone and is THE storyline for Sunday. On bump day, he gets his way in.
32. 24 Karam – He hasn’t had the car this month but the kid is fast and finds a way in.
33. 32 Kaiser – The ultimate storybook ending gets in. The car was fast before the accident and the team gets his car repaired just in enough time for him to get in.
34. 31 O’Ward – If you told me before the month that O’Ward would miss the show I would have called you crazy, but in reality, the road course car he’s driving just doesn’t have the speed to get in.
35. 59 Chilton – A second Carlin car gets bumped. Chilton, was only 31st on the no tow list on Friday and has been searching for speed all week.
36. 81 Hanley R – They just don’t have enough this year and the new team doesn’t make it.