INDIANAPOLIS — No practice is ahead. The only thing left up next is to qualify to set the field for next Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network). With that said, Saturday is all about posturing.
The top 12 cars in four-lap averages at 5:50 p.m. ET will vie for the pole on Sunday. The bottom four speeds at that same time will be in Sunday’s Last Chance Shootout. Spots 13th-30th are locked into those starting spots for eight days from now.
So, who gets in?
Qualifying Draw For Shootout In Aeroscreen Era
2022: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 23rd, 25th, 32nd
2021: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 10th, 19th, 28th, 30th, 32nd
2020: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 12th, 14th, 20th, 23rd, 28th
Colton Herta, Will Power, Marcus Ericsson, Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon are notable drivers to draw a top 10 qualifying position. All were quick on Fast Friday.
Also, you know Ed Carpenter Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing in general will be well represented in the Fast 12.
The entire top 6 of the starting lineup last year went to the Ed Carpenter Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing organizations. 5 of the top 6 in 2021 did too. What can they do this time around?
ECR has had a driver in the final round of qualifying for 10 straight years now. Rinus VeeKay is their top shot to keep that streak alive this weekend.
The Ganassi guys have missed the Fast Nine five times in the last 10 years, but they had also put all four cars in the Shootout the last two years too. From 2012 through 2016 though, they failed to make the Fast Nine four times in a five-year span. They put two cars in the Shootout in 2017, two in 2018 but were shutout again in 2019. In 2020 Scott Dixon was their lone bullet in their chamber as he’d start second.
They had all four of their cars in the top 11 of the four-lap average chart on Friday.
Fast 12 Prediction
Chip Ganassi Racing (4): Takuma Sato (1st, 7th, 1st on speed charts this week with the quickest 4-lap average on Fast Friday), Marcus Ericsson (qualified 5th last year, second quickest on the 4-lap on Fast Friday), Scott Dixon (3 straight front row starting spots, going for a record tying 6th Indy 500 pole including 3 straight), Alex Palou (Started 7th, 6th, 2nd here)
Andretti Autosport (2): Colton Herta (8th on Thursday’s no tow, 6th on Friday’s 4-lap averages), Kyle Kirkwood (9th on Thursday’s no tow, 8th on Friday’s 4-lap). Herta qualifies 2nd.
Arrow McLaren Racing (3): Alexander Rossi (7th on four-lap averages), Pato O’Ward (12th on four-lap averages) and Felix Rosenqvist (7th on four-lap averages). Rossi qualifies 8th, Rosenqivst in 13th and O’Ward in 22nd.
Team Penske (2): Will Power (has never won a pole here but was 4th on the 4-lap average on Friday and second on Thursday’s no tow report), Scott McLaughlin (has a fast car). The last two drivers to draw the 32nd qualifying spot each made the Shootout.
Ed Carpenter Racing (1): Rinus VeeKay (1st, 6th on no tow reports, 5th on the 4-lap averages, next started worse than 4th here)
Sleeper: Ryan Hunter-Reay. Qualifies first out and the last three to do so made the Shootout. Hunter-Reay has been fast this week (8th, 22nd, 23rd) and has a shot.
Speed to Get In: 232.426 mph. Last year it was 231.708 mph.
Last Row Shootout
Juncos Hollinger Racing (1): Callum Ilott – hard not to have him here. They were terrible in the test (33rd out of 33), slowest on Opening Day (34th out of 34), 32nd on Thursday and last again on Fast Friday. Ilott only turned 80 laps on Wednesday as he was battling the same issues that crept up during the test last month for which he only turned 31 total laps in. On Thursday, he was out there for 71 laps. On Friday, he only turned seven laps as they elected to finally change cars. That’s 158 total laps this week and only 31 in the test. They’re WAY behind and struggling. He was 3 mph off from the next best.
Able Motorsports (1): They’re a great story and I think they make the field on Sunday, but Enerson is 30th, 28th and 33rd on the speed charts this week. His 4-lap average from Friday was good enough for 33rd on Fast Friday.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2): Katherine Legge was 31st, 33rd and 29th respectively on the speed charts. She was 28th on the four-lap average chart. Christian Lundgaard was 32nd, 27th and 32nd across the three days. He was 30th on the four-lap average. Jack Harvey was 28th, 21st and 31st this week and was 32nd on the four-lap average. He blew an engine with 10 minutes remaining in Friday’s practice too. Graham Rahal was 23rd, 12th and 33rd on single lap speed and 31st on the four-lap average chart.
In the open test, RLL went 23rd (Rahal), 26th (Lundgaard), 28th (Harvey) and 31st (Katherine Legge). Last year, they had 2 of the bottom 3 qualifiers (Lundgaard 31st, Harvey 32nd) and earlier this season in Texas, they qualified 24th, 27th and 28th out of 28 cars.
I think the two RLL cars in the Shootout are Harvey and Legge.
Speed To Get Into Top 30: 230.356, was 228.622 mph last year. 30th on the four-lap average on Friday was 230.388 mph.