Who looks good, who’s in trouble heading into qualifying weekend for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network), my Fast 9 and Last Row Shootout picks

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s three main questions heading into this weekend’s Time Trials to set the field for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) — who has the advantage between Honda and Chevrolet, who will win the pole and which two drivers go home?

Right now, all three answers can be summed up into one.

Honda has the clear advantage in qualifying trim and it honestly doesn’t look very close. In 2018 and 2019, Chevrolet swept the front row. Last year, Honda returned the favor as well as placing 12 cars in the top 14 of the starting lineup.

This offseason, Chevrolet vowed to return to glory here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With starting position still meaning something on the 2.5-mile track, it was imperative for the bowties to improve on their pace with the Honda’s.

During race running this week, it appeared to be pretty even. But, following Fast Friday, Honda separated themselves from the pack again.

Honda had the entire top five of the overall speed chart in the six hour session including 10 of the top 11 speeds overall. While some may say, well what about the no tow?

Well, Honda went 1-2 on that chart including taking eight of the top nine speeds. This looks like their pole to lose.

In terms of who gets into the Fast Nine, I don’t think you can discredit any of the four Chip Ganassi Racing cars. They were quickest in each of the last three days of practice and had all four cars in the top five of the speed chart on Friday. They also had 4-7-8-12 on the no tow list too.

Andretti Autosport has Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi as Fast Nine contenders in my opinion. Rossi, was quickest on the no tow and fourth on the four lap averages. Herta, was sixth on the no tow list and second on the four lap chart.

Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing looks good too. They had 2-5-9 on the no tow and 6-8 on the four lap averages. They put two cars in the Fast Nine last year.

For Chevrolet, Penske looks like they’re in trouble again while Pato O’Ward appears to have the best bowtie. He was seventh in the first two days of practice, 14th on Thursday but sixth on Friday. He also had the third best no tow time and third best four lap average.

ECR has put at least one car in the Fast Nine for eight straight years now. They were 10-14-18 on the no tow list though on Friday after having arguably the top Chevy cars all week.

Penske is the story though. They had at least one car in the Fast Nine for 10 straight years. Do they really go 0-for-2 since with four good bullets in their chamber?

Ganassi has missed the Fast Nine five times in the last nine years but they look to land all four in the Shootout this year.

Now, lets go to the bottom of the speed chart. RC Enerson looks to be a lock at the bottom. Who joins him? Charlie Kimball was three mph off of 33rd on Fast Friday. He was also only 26th, 33rd, 29th and 34th respectively on the speed charts this week too. I think he’s in trouble. So could Sebastien Bourdais. He was just 33rd, 6th, 34th and 33rd this week in the speed department and only 31st on the no tow list. They also have the worst qualifying draw at that too.

Max Chilton will likely be in the Last Row Shootout after being 31st, 26th, 33rd and 23rd this week. He was 33rd on the no tow list. Could Sage Karam be too. He’s qualified 31st in each of the last two years and was only 29th on the no tow list on Friday. Yes, his “race” car has speed, but his qualifying speed may be lacking.

Without further ado – here’s my list.

Fast 9

  1.  9 Dixon
  2. 48 Kanaan
  3. 10 Palou
  4.  8 Ericsson
  5. 15 Rahal
  6. 30 Sato
  7. 26 Herta
  8. 27 Rossi
  9.  5 O’Ward

Bump Speed: 229.5 mph to get in

Last Row Shootout

31. 24 Karam

32. 14 Bourdais

33. 11 Kimball

34. 59 Chilton

35. 75 Enerson

Bump Speed To Get Into Top 30: 228.7 mph

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