Sunday, May 21, 2017

101st Indianapolis 500 Sunday Qualifying Preview

Can Chevrolet shock Honda again on Sunday?
Sunday's qualifying session for the 101st Indianapolis 500 will be run in two segments. Twenty-four cars will participate in Group 1 qualifying, which will start at 2:45 p.m. ET. Group 1 will set rows four through 11 of the grid and each car will have one qualifying attempt starting with the slowest qualifier from Saturday and going in reverse order and ending with the tenth-fastest qualifier from Saturday.

Zach Veach did not make a qualifying attempt on Saturday after his crew repaired his car from an accident that occurred late during Friday practice. He should be the first car to make a qualifying attempt on Sunday.

The big story from Saturday qualifying was Sébastien Bourdais' accident on the third lap of his qualifying attempt. The Frenchman's car started to step out in the middle of turn two and Bourdais' attempt to save the car caused an over-correction and his car to hit the turn two wall right front first before rolling over exiting the turn and ending up back on all four wheels before sliding to a stop on the back straightaway.

Bourdais suffered fractures to his pelvis and a fractured right hip from the accident but underwent a successful surgery on Saturday night. Dale Coyne Racing has not made it known what it will do with the #18 Honda for the rest of this weekend. Through two laps, Bourdais' average speed was 231.534 MPH, by far the fastest car of the session and he was likely to have ended Saturday as the top qualifier.

Pippa Mann was the slowest qualifier to complete an attempt at 219.282 MPH with Buddy Lazier 30th on Saturday over two miles per hour faster than Mann. Juncos Racing's two entries were 28th and 29th on the day with Sebastián Saavedra topping his teammate Spencer Pigot at 225.815 MPH over Pigot's 223.631 MPH. Conor Daly ended up 27th, less than a tenth of a mile per hour faster than Saavedra with Gabby Chaves qualifying 26th at 226.875 MPH.

Jack Harvey was 0.019 MPH faster than Chaves with Oriol Servià just over two-tenths of a mile per hour quicker than the British rookie. Carlos Muñoz was 23rd at 227.438 MPH with Jay Howard just over four-tenths of a mile per hour quicker in 22nd. Sage Karam was 21st at 227.943 MPH. Simon Pagenaud was the slowest Penske qualifier in 20th at 228.393 MPH with last year's Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter James Hinchcliffe just ahead of Pagenaud at 228.557 MPH.

Josef Newgarden and Juan Pablo Montoya were 17th and 18th respectively on Saturday with less than a tenth of a mile per hour between the Penske teammates. Graham Rahal ended the day in 16th at 228.835 MPH with Mikhail Aleshin ending up 15th at 229.217 MPH. Hélio Castroneves was just ahead of Aleshin at 229.390 MPH with Ryan Hunter-Reay in 13th at 229.533 MPH, the slowest of the Andretti Autosport qualifiers.

Max Chilton was the slowest Ganassi qualifier at 229.636 MPH in 12th with his teammate Charlie Kimball just ahead of the Briton at 229.713 MPH. Rookie Ed Jones ended Saturday tenth fastest at 229.717 MPH.

Once the Group 1 qualifying session is complete, the Fast Nine will take place with that session scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Marco Andretti will kick off the Fast Nine session, as the Pennsylvanian was the only driver to make the Fast Nine and not break the 230 MPH-barrier on Saturday. Andretti's four-lap average on Saturday was 229.924 MPH. Tony Kanaan was eighth quickest at 230.007 MPH. Fernando Alonso was the only rookie to make the Fast Nine session with his four-lap average of 230.034 MPH putting him seventh-fastest on Saturday.

Will Power is the only Penske entry to make the Fast Nine with the Australian ending up sixth on the day at 230.072 MPH. Defending Indianapolis 500 Alexander Rossi will set a career-best Indianapolis 500 starting position regardless of where he qualifies and he ended up fifth on Saturday at 230.148 MPH. J.R. Hildebrand ended up fourth on the day at 230.205 MPH.

Scott Dixon was third fastest on Saturday with a four-lap average of 230.333 MPH. Like his teammate Rossi, Takuma Sato will also set a career-best Indianapolis 500 starting position regardless of where he qualifies as Sato was the top Honda on Saturday at 230.382 MPH. Ed Carpenter was the surprise of the session with him ending up as the fastest qualifier at 230.468 MPH. Carpenter is a two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter and he could become the ninth driver to win at least three Indianapolis 500 pole positions.

Coverage of Group 1 qualifying will begin at 2:45 p.m. on WatchESPN with ABC's coverage of qualifying beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET.