Rinus VeeKay has claimed a maiden IndyCar pole while Scott Dixon qualified 12th for the first race of this weekend’s Indianapolis road course double-header.
Title contender Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) will start from the front row having topped Group 1 of qualifying with a 1:10.4706s, before VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) clocked a 1:09.6903s in Group 2.
Colton Herta (Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport) and Will Power (Team Penske) earned second row berths, while Dixon was only sixth-fastest in Group 1.
A Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) spin in the first group’s qualifying session left no time for drivers to make a run on alternate tyres, a point noted by Dixon.
“That’s just the way it goes sometimes, man,” said the Chip Ganassi Racing driver.
“We didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe we should have made the car better balance-wise on the (primaries), but you always chase what it’ll be for the (alternates).
“Bummer for the whole crew (that) we’ll start 12th; we’ll just have to figure it out and hopefully we have a good day tomorrow. It’s not over until you win the championship.”
Newgarden’s qualifying showing means he has cut Dixon’s series lead by a point, to 71.
Friday’s (local time) race is the longer of the two this weekend at 85 laps, with a 75-lapper to follow on the Saturday.
The first encounter gets underway tomorrow at 06:00 AEST.