INDIANAPOLIS – Honda appears to have the aerokit to beat for the pole for this year’s 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network). They dominated the front of the starting lineup a year ago, and a week of practice this year, Honda drivers have been stellar.
Before Fast Friday, Chevy had just three drivers in the top 12 of the speed charts. Penske themselves were 5-13-16-17-25. Then, on Fast Friday itself, Penske was 5-13-16-23-24. On the pivotal no tow list, they were 7-13-20-21-22.
In qualifying on Saturday, only one Penske driver made the Fast Nine and that was Will Power. The IndyCar Grand Prix pole winner turned a four-lap average of 230.072 mph in his No. 12 Chevrolet.
The rest were 14-17-18-20.
Penske has won 17 Indy 500 poles overall, but an 18th could be more difficult this weekend than in the past. Last year, they had three cars make the Fast Nine, this year only one.
If they don’t win the pole, it would be the first Verizon IndyCar Series race since last Labor Day weekend that they didn’t have a driver start first. Scott Dixon did at Watkins Glen last September.
Since, they’re six-for-six with Simon Pagneaud winning the pole position at Sonoma in last year’s season finale, and Helio Castroneves and Will Power combining to win all five poles to start this season off.
Overall, they’ve won 250 IndyCar poles, will 251 come Sunday?
It’s not guaranteed.
Power’s the last bullet in the chamber to do so.