INDIANAPOLIS — We’ve seen an odd trend for Indianapolis 500 qualifying lately and that’s the sense that we’ve seen five different drivers from five different teams earn the pole for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing in the last six years.
This year, we have 12 different drivers vying for the top spot in the annual prestigious race. The Fast 12 Shootout is on Sunday. 12 drivers enter, 6 come out. Then, for the Fast 6, 1 of the 6 will be awarded $100k and handed 12 points for being this year’s Indy 500 pole winner.
From James Hinchcliffe (SPM) in 2016 to Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) in 2021, we’ve had new drivers each year with the exception of one. Dixon (Ganassi) in 2017, Ed Carpenter (ECR) in 2018 and Simon Pagenaud (Penske) in 2019 and Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) were the others in this span here.
If this continues, who’s next?
Well, AJ Foyt Racing (JR Hildebrand, Dalton Kellett, Kyle Kirkwood), Juncos Hollinger Racing (Callum Ilott), Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (Sage Karam, Santino Ferrucci), Dale Coyne Racing (David Malukas, Takuma Sato), Meyer/Shank Racing (Simon Pageanud, Helio Castroneves) or Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey, Christian Lundgaard) would be the only ones left.
Foyt’s won 45 Indy Car poles hasn’t won one since 2014 at Long Beach. Their last Indy pole came by Billy Boat in 1998. RLL has 33 poles, the last coming in Aug. 2020 at the World Wide Technology Raceway, but their last Indy pole came in 2004 from Buddy Rice.
Dale Coyne Racing has 3 career poles, none at Indy on the oval with their last one other than Romain Grosjean’s last year on the road course coming in 2018 at Phoenix. Same for DRR with two poles, none at Indy with their last coming in 2002.
JHR and MSR have never won Indy Car poles before.
If this trend continues, RLL is the favorites among them. However, the Ganassi and Dale Coyne Racing cars look the strongest too.