Winning the pole in an INDYCAR race harder now than ever before

INDIANAPOLIS — We’re heading into the 6th race of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR Series season. Scott Dixon just became the 6th different pole sitter in as many races at that. Dixon set a record pace with a four-lap average of 234.046 mph in his No. 9 Dallara-Honda to score his 5th career Indianapolis 500 pole.

It’s also the third pole record to go down this season with Scott McLaughlin breaking the record in St. Pete and Colton Herta in Long Beach. That’s half of the races run this season with a track record being set.

Between McLaughlin (St. Pete), Felix Rosenqvist (Texas), Herta (Long Beach), Rinus VeeKay (Barber), Will Power (GMR Grand Prix) and now Dixon (Indy 500) that’s 5 different organizations among those 6 drivers.

If you go back to the end of last season too we’ve had 9 different pole winner in the last 11 races at that.

“It has become incredibly hard to get poles,” said Will Power here 9 days ago after scoring his 6th pole on the IMS road course. “It’s just a different guy each week who gets it all together, so it is hard.

“It’s hard to get more than two a year. Two or three you would be doing a good job.

“I’m going to say to put a really good lap together in this series there is just so much that goes into it before you even get in the car or just throughout practice and everything before you even get to qualifying, and then it’s up to you to really dig deep and put it together.

“But, yeah, I mean, I originally early in my days I used to say anyone can learn to do this, but after 20 years of high-level driving or more, I don’t believe that anymore. I think you have to have some sort of fire in the belly, which you see so many drivers have that in this series now. You see it in Formula 1 and in every series. Just some guys have that whatever it is in them and some don’t.

“The people that don’t may be exceptional in another area, but, yeah, it’s everything about looking at data and the video and putting all that in your mind, but then when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you’ve got to put it together, and it takes a lot of everything to do that.”

Scott Dixon now has 5 Indy poles and 27 INDYCAR poles overall. Photo Credit: INDYCAR Media Site

Now, it was Dixon’s turn to sing the praises of the series after his 27th career pole award on Sunday afternoon.

“I think they’re all rewarding,” Dixon told me on Sunday afternoon. “I think if you look at the different configurations that those have all been done, and for me each one demanded a different thing. I think, again, the pole run is such a team effort and so much work goes into it, as I alluded to before. It’s so cool to see all of that work that’s been done for the last sort of is 11 or 12 months pay off. I know it’s not the race win. It’s not any of that, but the effort that goes into just trying to get the pole is huge.

“Yeah, today, I don’t know, I would say that was probably one of the fastest runs I’ve ever done, so that’s cool. I think you think more about the ones that you didn’t get, unfortunately.”

We’ve had 213 drivers score an INDYCAR pole but as we’re seeing, it’s growing increasingly more difficult to join this club.

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