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Day 1 Indy 500 qualifying results: Ganassi overcomes nerves, puts four cars in Fast Nine

Indy 500 qualifying Ganassi

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (9) sits with Chip Ganassi on Saturday, May 22, 2021, during qualifying for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 052221 Indy500qualifying 052 Mm

Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

INDIANAPOLIS -- Even on days when they seem totally in control of dominating Indy 500 qualifying, the championship teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing still get nervous.

For Scott Dixon, who earned the provisional pole for the Fast Nine on his first attempt at four laps around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Tony Kanaan, who qualified third, the jitters actually might be worse than ever.

“T.K. and I were actually getting changed before we came out to qualifying,” said Dixon, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion. “He’s like, ‘Hey, man, do you still get nervous?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m really nervous.’ ”

“I couldn’t put my socks on,” said Kanaan, the 2004 champion and oldest driver in the field at 46.

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“I was shaking to put my socks on,” said Dixon, 40, who hadn’t been first in the Indy 500 qualifying order in 18 previous starts. “Going first, normally the Friday I felt like I’ve done prep, kind of understand where it’s going to go. But we’ve made so many changes overnight, then also hadn’t really had any clean runs yesterday afternoon. Our first run was the only run that we did. We were kind of downforced up.

“It’s a big deal, right? You’re rolling out, the first time you go into turn one at 240 miles an hour, you’re hoping you’re going to come out the other side in one piece.”

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Tony Kanaan (48) taps a crew member on the head with his gloves Saturday, May 22, 2021, during qualifying for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 052221 Indy500qualifying 015 Mm

Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Teammates Alex Palou (seventh) and Marcus Ericsson (ninth) made it a big day for Honda, which will have seven drivers competing for the pole position Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, Peacock Premium) with Colton Herta (second) and Helio Castroneves (sixth) also eligible.

Chevy will be represented by the Ed Carpenter Racing duo of Rinus VeeKay (fifth) and Carpenter (fourth), whose team has a Fast Nine qualifier for the sixth consecutive year.

Though Ganassi will have the most opportunities (including Dixon taking a shot at his fourth Indy 500 pole), Palou will be making his attempt in a repaired No. 10 Dallara-Honda after smacking the Turn 2 wall midway through qualifying.

Palou took the blame for the crash, exceeding the limits of the car’s handling after convincing the team to let him take a chance at improving his speed on a slick 2.5-mile oval.

“The team was on the fence of going out now with the weather so I was pushing them like ‘Hey, guys, we have a fast car, we can go,’ ” Palou said.

“So I’m feeling a bit stupid for not listening to the team and then really sorry for all the work they put in. It’s not that they put in work two weeks ago, they started building this car in the preseason, from the first time I walked into the shop. So I’m really sorry that instead of looking at the times, they are working on the car.

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“It’s not fun, it’s racing but it’s our job and I will push as much as I did before and this is just a mistake but at the speedway you pay really hard.”

Palou at least caught the good fortune of avoiding a backup car and also will have his Ganassi teammates to help get him up to speed.

“Obviously he’s taking it very hard on himself,” Kanaan said. “We tried to say, Look, man, you’re in (the race. They’re going to fix the car. The car is going to be perfect. Don’t worry about it.’ I think he’s OK now.”

Results of Day 1 qualifying for the Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (position, car number, driver, manufacturer, time and speed in parentheses):

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 2:35.2874 (231.828 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 2:35.4081 (231.648)
3. (48) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 2:35.4140 (231.639)
4. (20) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 2:35.4294 (231.616)
5. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 2:35.5192 (231.483)
6. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 2:35.7334 (231.164)
7. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 2:35.7461 (231.145)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 2:35.7501 (231.139)
9. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 2:35.7739 (231.104)
10. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 2:35.8132 (231.046)
11. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 2:35.8148 (231.044)
12. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 2:35.9360 (230.864)
13. (51) Pietro Fittipaldi, Honda, 2:35.9481 (230.846)
14. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 2:36.0168 (230.744)
15. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 2:36.0417 (230.708)
16. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 2:36.1395 (230.563)
17. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 2:36.1435 (230.557)
18. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 2:36.1680 (230.521)
19. (47) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 2:36.2314 (230.427)
20. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 2:36.3922 (230.191)
21. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 2:36.4735 (230.071)
22. (1) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 2:36.5354 (229.980)
23. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 2:36.5563 (229.949)
24. (86) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 2:36.5961 (229.891)
25. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 2:36.6089 (229.872)
26. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 2:36.6732 (229.778)
27. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 2:36.6964 (229.744)
28. (25) Stefan Wilson, Honda, 2:36.7166 (229.714)
29. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 2:36.9195 (229.417)
30. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 2:37.6717 (228.323)