Bourdais, Dixon Lead Honda First-Round Qualifiers at Indianapolis

  • Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon advance to Sunday pole shootout
  • Final qualifying Sunday will set starting order for field of 33
  • Mechanical issue prevents final qualifying attempt from James Hinchcliffe

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 19, 2018) – Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon led the way for Honda today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a drama-filled “Bump Day” of first-round qualifying in preparation for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500.

On a day twice interrupted by rain showers, Bourdais completed his comeback journey from multiple fractures sustained in a crash during qualifying last year to end the day fifth fastest. As a result, he advances to tomorrow’s “Fast Nine” shootout for the pole with his Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Joining him in the fight for the pole will be Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon, fastest qualifier for last year’s “500”.

The nine fastest drivers today will contend for the pole on Sunday, with each driver making a single qualifying run to determine his starting position in the first three rows of the “500”. The remaining drivers will make their own second-round qualifying runs tomorrow to determine starting positions 10 through 33.

Alexander Rossi missed making the Fast Nine shootout by less than a tenth of a mile per hour after a second qualifying run late in the afternoon, and finished the day 10th. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, both James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann were bumped from the starting field in today’s qualifying.

The first car to make a qualifying attempt after today’s initial rain shower, Hinchcliffe produced a disappointing 224.784 mph average. Returning for a second attempt after all 35 cars had made their first qualifying runs, Hinchcliffe was forced to pit with a severe vibration before he could take the green flag. Time expired before he could make another attempt, and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry was bumped from the field. After withdrawing her initial speed of 224.360 mph, Mann made two more qualifying runs in the final minutes of qualifying, but was unable to muster the speed to bump her way back into the race.

In a press conference this morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDYCAR announced a new engine configuration to start with the 2021 season. The new 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engines are projected to generate at least 100 more horsepower than the current 2.2-liter platform, with as much as 900 horsepower available. Engines will continue to turn at a maximum of 12,000 rpm.

Live ABC Network television coverage of Pole Day qualifying action from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway starts tomorrow at 4 p.m. EDT.

Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing Honda) Fifth fastest in first-round qualifying, advances to Sunday Pole Shootout: “It was a solid run for the SealMaster Honda #18. Very conservative, obviously [following last year’s crash in qualifying]. I kind of owed it to myself, my wife, and everybody on the team. A lot of things went through my head, particularly yesterday. We were back in qualifying trim and it was not an easy day, but the guys did a great job and the car was pretty strong. The conditions were a little tricky. Just before we were supposed to go out, it rains. Then it got hot. You go from 80 degrees of track temp to 105, six to eight degrees more of ambient [temperature]. It was tough to hit the setup right with conditions that changed so fast, but we had the right amount of downforce. The car was pretty solid, so I’m very happy with the run.”

Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Eighth fastest in first-round qualifying, advances to Sunday Pole Shootout: “It was much better today out there overall for the whole #9 PNC Bank team. The car really felt good today and I was comfortable. I was feeling a lot better than yesterday, but we’re just still lacking some speed to match the top cars right now in qualifying. The team has been working very hard to make the most out of it and we’ll see what the conclusion of qualifying brings tomorrow.”

Indianapolis 500 First Round “Bump Day” Qualifying

Circuit:                             Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval), Indianapolis, IN

2017 Winner:     Takuma Sato (Andretti Autosport) 156.395 mph average

Weather:           Intermittent showers, warm, humid, 80 degrees F 

Indianapolis 500 First Round Qualifying Results:

Ps. Driver       Team Manufacturer Best Speed Notes
1. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 228.919  
2. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 228.692  
3. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 228.304  
4. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 228.194  
5. Sebastien Bourdais DCR with Vasser-Sullivan Honda 228.090  
6. Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 228.052  
7. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 228.049  
8. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 227.782  
9. Danica Patrick Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 227.610  

Other Honda-powered Results:

10. Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda 227.561  
13. Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing              Honda 226.995  
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 226.952  
15. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 226.600  
17. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 226.154  
18. Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 226.098
20. Robert Wickens-R Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 225.955  
22. Stefan Wilson Andretti Autosport Honda 225.909  
24. Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Honda 225.805  
26. Zachary Claman De Melo-R Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 225.722  
27. Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Honda 225.720
29. Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 225.513  
30. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 225.407
31. Oriol Servia Scuderia Corsa/RLLR Honda 225.513
32. Conor Daly Dale Coyne/Thom Burns Honda 224.874  
  James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 224.784 Did not qualify
  Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing                 Honda 224.360 Did not qualify