Saturday, May 20, 2017

101st Indianapolis 500 Saturday Qualifying Preview

Sébastien Bourdais enters the first qualifying day the fastest of the month
Saturday marks the first day of Indianapolis 500 qualifying. The goal of today's session is to finish in the top nine and advance to the Fast Nine session scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Each car will be guaranteed one attempt. Once the session has gone through the qualifying line each team will be able to make additional attempts to move into the top nine. The drivers that end up 10th to 33rd will take place in the first group of qualifying tomorrow afternoon and will decide the starting order from row four to row 11.

Today's session is scheduled to take place from 11:00 a.m. ET to 5:50 p.m. ET.

Honda had a dominated day on Friday as the manufacture took 13 of the top 15 overall times and 12 of the top 15 times on the no-tow report.

Sébastien Bourdais was fastest on the day with a lap of 233.116 MPH with Ryan Hunter-Reay in second at 232.132 MPH. Hunter-Reay had the fastest no-tow lap at 231.273 MPH and Bourdais was second at 231.192 MPH on the no-tow report. Takuma Sato was third overall at 231.969 MPH with Fernando Alonso making it three consecutive Hondas on the overall time sheet at 231.827 MPH. Alonso was fifth-quickest on the no-tow report at 230.966 MPH. Juan Pablo Montoya was fifth overall and the top Chevrolet at 231.682 MPH but the Colombian was only 20th on the no-tow report.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' three cars were sixth, seventh and eighth with James Hinchcliffe leading Mikhail Aleshin and Jay Howard with all three cars over 231 MPH. Aleshin was the quickest of the three on the no-tow report in ninth. Ed Jones was ninth on the day at 231.252 MPH but he was the only driver not to have a lap registered on the no-tow report. Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan round out the top 11 but Rossi and Kanaan were third and fourth on the no-tow report with each driver registering a lap over 231 MPH without a tow. Scott Dixon was 12th overall and sixth on the no-tow report.

The top Chevrolet on the no-tow report was Will Power in seventh at 230.730 MPH but Power was only 16th on the overall speed chart. Hélio Castroneves was 13th overall but was 21st on the no-tow. Simon Pagenaud was 23rd overall, just ahead of Josef Newgarden but the French was 13th on the no-tow report. Newgarden was 22nd on the no-tow report.

Ed Carpenter Racing has Ed Carpenter in 17th and J.R. Hildebrand was 19th overall but Carpenter was 12th on the no-tow with Hildebrand in 18th. Marco Andretti was the slowest Andretti Autosport car on Friday in 15th but was 11th on the no-tow report.

There were two accidents on Friday. Spencer Pigot spun in turn two while Zach Veach hit the wall exiting turn one. Pigot was 32nd fastest overall on Friday but was 28th on the no-tow report. Veach was 30th overall but 26th on the no-tow report yesterday.

Pippa Mann will be the first qualifier with Montoya second and Kanaan scheduled to go out third. Fourth on the draw will be Power followed by Howard, Jones, Castroneves and Sage Karam. Ryan Hunter-Reay will be the ninth qualifier with Dixon and Pagenaud rounding out the first-third of the qualifiers.

Veach was scheduled to be the 12th qualifier. Hinchcliffe and Conor Daly are slated to follow Veach. Graham Rahal, driver of car #15, will be the 15th qualifier. Fernando Alonso should be the 16th driver on track and Pigot is supposed to follow the Spaniard. Max Chilton is scheduled to be the 18th driver to make a qualifying attempt and his teammate Charlie Kimball will follow him. After the two Ganassi cars will be Bourdais. The Andretti Autosport entries of Rossi and Marco Andretti rounding out the second-third of qualifiers with Takuma Sato being the 23rd car in line.

Newgarden will be the 24th qualifier. Sebastián Saavedra should follow Newgarden and then should come Jack Harvey and Oriol Servia. Buddy Lazier is tentatively 28th in the qualifying line and then will be Ed Carpenter and Carlos Muñoz. The final three qualifiers should be Aleshin, Hildebrand and Gabby Chaves.

Qualifying will be shown streaming from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET on WatchESPN with ABC's coverage of the final two hours of qualifying starting at 4:00 p.m. ET.