Darron Cummings/Associated Press
The Honda cars enter qualifying for the Indy 500 with an advantage over Chevrolet to land the pole for the August 23 race.
Honda produced the fastest cars during the Friday practice session, which gave the drivers a good idea as to who will top Saturday’s qualifying chart.
Graham Rahal will start Saturday’s session after he was selected first in a random draw to get out on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The top nine cars from qualifying will advance to Sunday’s Fast Nine, where the pole sitter and the front three rows will be determined.
Indy 500 Qualifying Information
Dates: Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16
Times: Saturday (11 a.m.-5 p.m. ET); Sunday (1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET)
TV: NBC (Saturday 3-5 p.m. ET; Sunday 1:15 p.m.-2:15 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com.
Rahal and his teammate Takuma Sato have the opportunity to set the qualifying pace after they were drawn into the first two positions for Saturday.
Not only is the early draw favored by the fast Honda cars, but it is envied by the Chevrolet racers looking to pick up more speed.
Will Power, who will hit the track 10th, told NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan the early start could play in favor of him and others.
“The first run really counts,” Power said. “If you drew in the first top 10, you’re in pretty good shape, especially for us who are just trying to crack into the top nine. I was really happy about that.”
Power told NBC Sports he was frustrated throughout Friday’s practice session because the Team Penske Chevrolet cars were not as fast as others. (h/t The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck).
“We’re just not fast,” Power said. “We’re just not going to be able to challenge Honda (for the pole). I can’t see it.”
Power, Josef Newgarden and Sage Karam could be Chevrolet’s top hopefuls to land in the top nine spots since they go off ninth, 10th and 11th.
If they land in the back part of the top nine, they could be in for a nervous wait with Marco Andretti looming in the 28th position of the draw.
Andretti produced the fastest lap in hot conditions Friday, which could be a good indicator for his performance Saturday.
The Andretti Autosport driver tried to use that reasoning to put a positive spin on his unlucky draw, per Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press.
“In the middle of the day, the heat of the day, we put together a really solid four laps,” Andretti said. “That is the heat of the day, right? That’s the positive to take, that if it is going to be hot, we already did that.”
Andretti has never started on the pole for the most prestigious North American open-wheel race.
Ed Carpenter won the pole position most in the last decade. He started first in 2013, 2014 and 2018. Scott Dixon had two first-place starts in that span and Simon Pagenaud began the race in first in 2019.
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