INDIANAPOLIS May 17, 2015 – Alex Tagliani led the way with a four-lap average speed of 223.722 mph, good enough for 22nd on the grid for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500. It is Tagliani’s first IndyCar appearance since last year’s 500, and the Canadian was confident that there is more to come from the No. 48 car.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the pace of our No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating car,” said Tagliani, who will make his seventh start in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing next Sunday. “I think we had a (lap of) 225 in there, but we missed on the gearing.” The 2011 500 pole sitter is looking forward to race day, where he has a best career finish of 10th. “The car is good, it’s really good in traffic, so hopefully we can do well with this on Sunday.”
Takuma Sato, who was amongst the faster cars in practice, was not as happy with his run. The No. 14 ABC Supply Co. Honda turned a four-lap average of 223.226 mph, which puts him 27th, on the outside of row 9.
“Obviously we’re disappointed,” said Sato. “It was not the run we wanted, and we struggled to find speed. But over the course of practice I think the No. 14 ABC Supply Car is really strong in race trim, and that’s all that really matters.”
Jack Hawksworth also had a strong car in practice that did not translate to qualifying. Hawksworth was bogged down in 31st after his first run, and had to return to the track later, where he and the team found a setup that turned out a 223.738 mph four-lap average, fast enough to best teammate Tagliani for 22nd, but because he had to run a second time as part of the last row shootout, will start 31st, on the inside of row 11.
“Obviously today didn’t go to plan,” said the Britain native. “I don’t think anything was wrong with the car, unfortunately we were just super slow on the first run.” Hawksworth was much happier with his car in the second run, and is confident in his No. 41 ABC Supply Co. machine heading into race week. “We’re relieved to have made the race…I think we have a good racecar. Now we have to move towards next week and try to understand what happened and have a good race day.”
Scott Dixon’s four-lap average of 226.760 mph earned the three-time champion his second Indianapolis 500 pole. Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, and Helio Castroneves round out the top five, with Justin Wilson completing the second row of cars for Sunday’s race.
Monday afternoon, teams will have the opportunity to fine-tune their race setups in a three and a half hour practice session. Following that, only the hour-long practice session on Carb Day separates the 33-car field from the green flag. The 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast on ABC-TV on Sunday May 24th, with coverage beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.