Dixon chasing Indy 500 pole history this weekend
In the 106 runnings of the Indianapolis 500 from 1911 through 2022, 11 drivers earned back-to-back pole positions… and that’s where the story ends.
With so few records left to be set at “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” a significant one remains as 2021-22 pole winner Scott Dixon has a chance this weekend to become the first driver in Indy 500 history to score three consecutive poles.
“Three in a row…honestly, I haven’t even thought about that,” Dixon told RACER. “I haven’t even thought there was two in a row. Most of the time you think about the ones that got away more than the actual ones you knew you nailed and got. But what I love about qualifying is the roller coaster ride that you take to get there to try and pull it off. What’s special about the pole is just the amount of effort that goes into making these cars super fast. It’s a whole team effort. The pressure is definitely on and then there’s trying to nail that right downforce level.
“And then each year is its own thing of what you’re finding, whether it’s wind direction, track temp, or a combination of the two. Last year’s pole for me was one of the most enjoyable because the car was so well balanced. It was just a perfect scenario.”
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Earning pole would also give the New Zealander six starts from P1, tying Dixon with all-time Indy 500 pole leader Rick Mears.
“If we could pull that off, go for the six, three in a row, be the first to do that, obviously that would be would be huge,” the 2008 Indy 500 winner added. “But at the moment, the process is just trying to make the car the best that we can and then come end of Saturday, be in the Fast 12 and then hopefully Sunday we can make it to the Fast Six and then obviously go on to try and fight for the pole.
“But you know this place can throw weird things at you and we could even be out of it on the first day. So we’ll keep our heads down, keep after it and hopefully we can be fighting for a pole on Sunday.”
Of Dixon’s 11 predecessors, all but the late Scott Brayton had the opportunity to go for three straight poles.
Ralph DePalma: Consecutive poles set in 1920-1921, but qualified 3rd in 1922
Rex Mays: 1935-1936, qualified 23rd in 1937
Eddie Sachs: 1960-1961, qualified 27th in 1962
Parnelli Jones: 1962-1963, qualified 4th in 1964
Mario Andretti: 1966-1967, qualified 4th in 1968
AJ Foyt: 1974-1975, qualified 5th in 1976
Tom Sneva: 1977-1978, qualified 2nd in 1979
Rick Mears: 1988-1989, qualified 2nd in 1990
Scott Brayton: 1995-1996
Helio Castroneves: 2009-2010, qualified 16th in 2011
Ed Carpenter: 2013-2014, qualified 12th in 2015
Thanks to statistician Scott Richards for the historical breakdown.
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