IndyCar Indy 500 Auto Racing

Alex Palou celebrates Sunday after winning the pole for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500. Palou’s pole run of 234.046 mph broke the record set last year by Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon. Darron Cummings/Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Alex Palou will lead the field to green in the Indianapolis 500 after the young Spaniard put together the fastest four-lap pole run in history Sunday, edging Rinus VeeKay and Felix Rosenqvist to give Chip Ganassi Racing its third consecutive pole in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Palou, who won on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last weekend, whipped four laps around the historic 2.5-mile speedway at an average of 234.217 mph. That was a mere 0.007 mph faster than VeeKay, who still gave Ed Carpenter Racing a front-row starting spot for the ninth time in the last 11 years.

“It means the world to me now, to the boys, to everybody,” said Palou, who is likely moving to Arrow McLaren next year.

He roared when Rosenqvist missed out on the pole for Arrow McLaren in the last run of the day.

“I’m just super happy,” Palou said.

Palou surpassed the record pole run of 234.046 mph that Ganassi teammate Scott Dixon put up last year. It also was the second-fastest qualifying effort, trailing only Arie Luyendyk’s 236.986, which he set the day after pole qualifying in 1996.


“He did exactly what he needed to do. He’ll be the first to tell you it was a total team effort,” said Ganassi, who put a car on the pole at the Indy 500 for the eighth time. “We’re going to sail into the 500 starting on the pole. We’re pretty excited.”

Palou was confident he had a fast car, even though Rosenqvist was quickest earlier in the day.

“We have to go fast. Are you ready to go really fast?” team manager Barry Wanser asked Palou over the radio, as the 26-year-old headed off pit road under sunny skies and before a huge crowd lining the old speedway. “Let’s get it done.”

He did, and his rivals were left looking for more.

“I got everything out of it. Wish I had just a little more,” VeeKay said. “It’s so close, and the thing really had a shot for the pole position, but also I’m a bit spoiled to say that. This is only the start to the race. Proud of the team, proud of the whole crew.”

Santino Ferrucci qualified fourth, on the inside of Row 2 for underdog A.J. Foyt Racing, which has turned heads all week. Rookie Foyt driver Benjamin Pedersen will start in 11th for the May 28 race.


Pato O’Ward will start alongside Ferrucci, while Dixon, who was going for a record third straight pole, qualified sixth.

Alexander Rossi will be on the inside of Row 3 along with Takuma Sato and Tony Kanaan, who will start ninth in what he says is his final Indy 500.

The others that failed to advance to the pole shootout were defending Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who will start 10th for the strong Ganassi contingent, Pedersen, and Will Power, the lone Team Penske driver to make the top 12 from Saturday’s qualifying runs.

“All weekend we’ve been struggling to do four laps. It’s been an issue pretty much every day,” Ericsson said. “This morning we did three pretty good laps (in practice) and had a moment. I did stay flat out for four laps, but just had too much sliding.”

VeeKay had his own moment during practice when smoke came out of the back of the No. 21 car. The engineers from his Ed Carpenter Racing team determined it was a failed header, and that no damage was done to the engine. They felt confident sending him onto the warm, sun-splashed track for the hour-long qualifying session.

“This morning was a bit tough. A bit tough. We had some issues,” VeeKay said, “but the 21 crew, they gave me their A-game. We even had time to spare. The engine felt great. The car felt great. All I had to do was stay flat-out for four laps.”


That’s what Ferrucci did, too, as the Foyt team has become the feel-good story of Gasoline Alley. A.J. Foyt lost his wife of 68 years, Lucy, last month, and the 88-year-old Foyt thought about skipping out on May in Indianapolis, where he’s one of four four-time winners of the race.

Foyt decided to come, though, and has been treated to some of the fastest laps around the track by his own team. He watched both qualifying sessions inside a closed garage and asked that all interview requests be held until the end of the day.

But when Ferrucci returned to the garage to see Foyt after his qualifying run, he was followed by an entourage of well-wishers that included former Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony George and Jim Campbell, head of Chevrolet’s racing program.

“That’s the fastest I’ve ever been for four laps,” said Ferrucci, who nearly clipped the wall on his first lap during the Fast 12, moments after his team told him over the radio: “Remember we have to race this thing. Let’s not do anything dumb.”

Foyt cars had not advanced into the qualifying shootout rounds for the Indy 500 since the format was introduced in 2010.

Foyt himself won four Indianapolis 500 poles – all while he was the team owner. He was the first driver to win four Indy 500s, a club that only added its fourth member in 2021 when Helio Castroneves won his fourth.


He was quick to point out after Ferrucci wound up fourth that Foyt himself had never won the 500 from the front row, but twice did it from fourth – his final two Indy 500 victories.

At the back end of the grid, Graham Rahal was bumped from the race by Rahal Lettterman Lanigan teammate Jack Harvey, who needed three qualifying runs to beat Rahal by a mere .007 mph, Harvey’s final qualifying attempt happened as time expired on the session, with Rahal left watching on an iPad from inside his car. There was no time left for Rahal to make another run.

“I knew from the start we were in trouble,” Rahal said before being overcome by tears. He walked away mid-interview and sat on the side of his car, head in hands and sobbing. His young daughter approached and Rahal leaned in and hugged her while his wife, Courtney Force, patted him on the shoulder.

It’s not clear if team owner Bobby Rahal, Graham’s father, will try to buy out another driver in the field to ensure that his son races next Sunday.

CUP SERIES: Kyle Larson turned in a dominating effort to earn his third All-Star victory and $1 million as the NASCAR Cup Series returned to North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina following a 27-year absence.

Larson became only the fourth driver to win the All-Star race at least three times. Jimmie Johnson has the most with four victories, while Larson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt have three.


Larson is the first to win the All-Star race at three different tracks, also having won in Charlotte in 2019 and Texas in 2021.

He celebrated with a full lap of burnouts around the .625-mile track as Hendrick Motorsports got its 11th All-Star victory.

Bubba Wallace finished second in the 200-lap non-points exhibition race, followed by Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and Chase Elliott.

But only Larson collected prize money in the winner-take-all event.

Larson overcame an early speeding penalty on Lap 24 and ran away from the field.

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