“Marc”-ed Man: Andretti the Driver to Beat on Saturday

Just like on Fast Friday, Marco Andretti with his Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian Honda setting the fastest four-lap average speed as Andretti Autosport cars held the top four positions in the fast nine going into Sunday.

Marco’s first run was enough to put him pole, with a four-lap average speed of 231.351 mph. Most drivers were not able to improve as the day went on as they had to combat increasing track temperatures.

Second place would be the DHL Honda of Ryan Hunter-Reay with a four-lap average of 231.330 mph. The 2012 Indianapolis 500 winner would be followed by the 2016 winner of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” Alexander Rossi. The final Andretti car in the top five would be James Hinchcliffe in fourth.

Scott Dixon would be the one to break the Andretti stranglehold in fifth, putting his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in fifth with a four lap average of 231.155 mph. Right at the end of qualifying, Dixon set the fastest single lap of the day with an average of 232.356 mph.

NTT IndyCar Series rookies Rinus Veekay and Alex Palou would find themselves sixth and seventh respectively after brilliant drives by the two. Veekay’s sixth place effort was the fastest by a Chevrolet powered car on Saturday as they continued to struggle for pace.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing would round out the fast nine, with Graham Rahal and 2018 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato in eight and ninth respectively.

Team Penske’s struggles continued on Saturday, as Josef Newgarden was able to only post a team-best thirteenth place position with a four-lap average of 230.296 mph. The next fastest Penske machine would be Will Power in twenty-second, followed by Simon Pagenaud in twenty-fifth and Helio Castroneves in twenty-eighth (his worst career Indy 500 qualifying position).

This lack of pace has plagued the team as well as Chevrolet all week so far, with the manufacturer putting only one car in the top ten in two of the first three practice sessions, none of which were a Team Penske car.

Team boss Roger Penske will not be happy with the performance of the team at the track he now owns. Both the boss and the drivers expect to be fighting for the pole here, but have languished outside of the top ten. All parties will be hoping that Chevrolet’s pace issues are fixed and that race pace is better than their single lap pace come 23 August.

This lack of pace is also hurting the triple crown chances of Fernando Alonso, who will be starting from twenty-sixth in his No. 66 Arrow McLaren SP entry.

Going into the fast nine shootout on Sunday, one question looms. Will anyone be able to stop Andretti? And if not, which Andretti driver will be on pole? We will just have to wait and see on Sunday.

Indianapolis 500 Saturday Qualifying Results

1 98 Marco Andretti USA Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian 02:35.6078 231.351
2 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 02:35.6217 231.33
3 27 Alexander Rossi USA Andretti Autosport 02:35.6638 231.268
4 29 James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Autosport 02:35.7126 231.195
5 9 Scott Dixon NZ Chip Ganassi Racing 02:35.7396 231.155
6 21 Rinus VeeKay (R) NED Ed Carpenter Racing 02:35.7674 231.114
7 55 Alex Palou (R) ESP Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh 02:35.8213 231.034
8 15 Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 02:35.9641 230.822
9 30 Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 02:35.9844 230.792
10 88 Colton Herta USA Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 02:35.9962 230.775
11 8 Marcus Ericsson SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 02:36.1374 230.566
12 45 Spencer Pigot USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing w/ Citrone/Buhl Autosport 02:36.1557 230.539
13 1 Josef Newgarden USA Team Penske 02:36.3203 230.296
14 10 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 02:36.3491 230.254
15 5 Pato O’Ward MEX Arrow McLaren SP 02:36.3769 230.213
16 20 Ed Carpenter USA Ed Carpenter Racing 02:36.3781 230.211
17 26 Zach Veach USA Andretti Autosport 02:36.5484 229.961
18 47 Conor Daly USA Ed Carpenter Racing 02:36.5525 229.955
19 18 Santino Ferrucci USA Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan 02:36.5736 229.924
20 60 Jack Harvey ENG Meyer Shank Racing 02:36.6161 229.861
21 7 Oliver Askew USA Arrow McLaren SP 02:36.6852 229.76
22 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske 02:36.7252 229.701
23 14 Tony Kanaan BRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 02:37.0993 229.154
24 41 Dalton Kellett CAN A.J. Foyt Enterprises 02:37.2880 228.88
25 22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Team Penske 02:37.3180 228.836
26 66 Fernando Alonso ESP Arrow McLaren SP 02:37.3646 228.768
27 51 James Davison AUS Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing 02:37.3789 228.747
28 3 Helio Castroneves BRA Team Penkse 02:37.6368 228.373
29 4 Charlie Kimball USA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 02:38.0625 227.758
30 59 Max Chilton ENG Carlin 02:38.3789 227.303
31 24 Sage Karam USA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 02:38.5210 227.099
32 67 JR Hildebrand USA Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 02:39.0518 226.341
33 81 Ben Hanley ENG DragonSpeed 02:41.4948 222.917
(R) – Rookie

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