Historic First Day of Qualifying at Indy

Rosenqvist Paces Epic, Historic First Day
of Qualifying at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, May 20, 2023) – Felix Rosenqvist led a historic day of qualifying Saturday for the 107th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, turning the third-fastest four-lap qualifying run in history to lead the 12 drivers who will compete for the NTT P1 Award on Sunday.

Rosenqvist’s second run of the day, at 4:42 p.m. ET, featured a four-lap average speed of 233.947 mph in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Only Arie Luyendyk’s all-time record run of 236.986 in 1996 and Scott Dixon’s pole run of 234.048 last year were faster.

The Swede’s first attempt, at 11:55 a.m., clocked in at 233.099.

“Super proud of the whole team for executing,” Rosenqvist said. “That last run we did was just phenomenal. Almost in a 234 average. That was pretty mind-blowing how we found so much speed. We weren’t super happy on our first run, so we had two or three reasons to think we were going to go quicker. We kind of put them all together. Wow, what a run.

“Yeah, just a fun time to be in Arrow McLaren right now. Everything kind of resets for tomorrow, but we’re definitely feeling good right now.”

SEE: Qualifying Results | Qualifying Format

Rosenqvist’s teammate Alexander Rossi was second at 233.528 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, and 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Alex Palou was third at 233.398 in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.

Rinus VeeKay was fourth at 233.395 in the No. 21 Bitnile.com Chevrolet fielded by Ed Carpenter Racing, with six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Dixon fifth at 233.375 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan, making his final NTT INDYCAR SERIES start in this race, was sixth at 233.347 in the No. 66 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Arrow McLaren put all four of its cars in the top eight today, while Chip Ganassi Racing put its four in the top 10.

Katherine Legge made history with her qualifying run in the No. 44 Hendrickson Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, turning the fastest single qualifying lap and four-lap qualifying average by a female driver in Indy 500 history. Her fastest lap of 231.627 broke the record of 230.201 set by Simona de Silvestro in 2021, and her four-lap average of 231.070 eclipsed the mark of 229.439 set by Sarah Fisher in 2002 and secured the final locked-in starting spot of the day, 30th.

While positions 13-30 were locked into the field today, PPG Presents Armed Forces Qualifying continues Sunday with the dramatic Firestone Fast Six runs for the NTT P1 Award and the pressure of making the 33-car field in Last Chance Qualifying.

The 12 fastest drivers from today will participate in Top 12 Qualifying from 2-3 p.m. ET (live, Peacock and INDYCAR Radio Network), with the six fastest from that session competing for the pole in Firestone Fast Six Qualifying from 5:15-5:45 p.m. In between those two sessions, the four slowest drivers from today will compete for the final three spots in the field in Last Chance Qualifying from 4-5 p.m. NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast the last two sessions live from 4-6 p.m.

Participants in Top 12 Qualifying are Rosenqvist, Rossi, Palou, VeeKay, Dixon, Kanaan, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato (233.322 mph today, No. 11 Deloitte Honda), Pato O’Ward (233.252, No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet), Santino Ferrucci (233.147, No. 14 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet), reigning “500” winner Marcus Ericsson (233.030, No. 8 Huski Ice Spritz Honda), rookie Benjamin Pedersen (232.739, No. 55 AJ Foyt Racing/Sexton Properties) and reigning series champion Will Power (232.719, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet).

Last Chance Qualifying will feature Rahal Letterman Lanigan drivers Christian Lundgaard (231.056, No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda), Jack Harvey (230.098, No. 30 PeopleReady Honda) and Graham Rahal (228.526, No. 15 United Rentals Honda), and rookie Sting Ray Robb (229.955, No. 51 biohaven Honda).

On-track action Sunday starts with Top 12 Qualifying Practice from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., followed by Last Chance Qualifying practice from 12:30-1:30 p.m., with coverage of both sessions on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

History was made almost as quickly as the 34 cars circled the 2.5-mile oval today under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s.

Besides Rosenqvist’s epic run and Legge’s history-making laps, Pedersen’s four-lap average was the second-fastest ever by a rookie, topped only by the 233.100 turned by Tony Stewart in 1996. The first lap of Pedersen’s run, 233.297, was the fastest ever by an Indy 500 rookie.

The number of qualifying attempts in a single day was the final record to fall on a frantic day of nearly non-stop attempts during the six-hour, 50-minute session. There were 84 qualifying attempts today, shattering the mark of 73 set in 2019.

Five drivers endured the pressure of four qualifying attempts in one day: Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda), Lundgaard, David Malukas (No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda), Rahal and Robb.

Public gates open at 10 a.m. Sunday at IMS.

The 107th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 (11 a.m. ET, NBC, Peacock, Universo, INDYCAR Radio Network).