Felix Rosenqvist delivered a 234.081mph for Arrow McLaren Chevrolet to head the second stage of qualifying for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500, while Santino Ferrucci sent AJ Foyt Racing into the Fast Six.
Running in reverse order in which they finished day one of qualifying, Will Power was the first to go in the Top 12 shootout, and unlike in previous days, his No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet looked tricky. After a 233.297mph on his opener, Power appeared to pick up understeer in Turn 1, dropping pace to 232.5mph, before increasing speed on lap three to 232.6mph, then falling to 232.089mph on the fourth lap, with a 232.635mph average. Despite being the only driver to pass the Turn 1 speedtrap at 240mph, it wasn’t going to be enough.
Rookie Benjamin Pedersen of AJ Foyt Racing, who turned a 235mph lap in morning practice, then hit the track, starting out with a 233.137mph – slower than Power’s first – but then lost only 0.3mph next time by. His average worked out 0.04mph ahead of Power.
Defending Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson delivered two laps above 233mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to easily eclipse the first two runners, and despite his fourth lap dropping into the 231s he went fastest.
Santino Ferrucci in the second Foyt car then pumped in a 234.581mph opener, and stayed above 234mph on his second lap, notably using all of the track on the exit of Turn 1 but keeping a handy margin exiting Turn 2. His 233mphs on lap three and four were enough to produce an average of 233.911mph, over 1mph clear of Ericsson.
The first of the Arrow McLaren Chevys on track was Pato O’Ward, running an opener of 234.34mph, but by lap three he was down to 232.8mph, and on lap four he was on a 232.1mph. That was still enough to give him an average comfortably clear of Ericsson, but Peacock reported that, in response to this run, Arrow McLaren cranked in more downforce.
Takuma Sato’s run was more consistent than teammate Ericsson’s, the No. 11 Ganassi car losing 1.65mph over the four laps and producing an average over 233mph.
Then it was time for Tony Kanaan, ahead of his 22nd and final Indy 500, to hit the track and set a 234mph opener in the “extra” McLaren. A nasty wriggle entering Turn 1 on lap four dropped him to 231.806mph, although his average remained just the right side of 233mph.
Five-time Indy 500 pole-winner Scott Dixon opened with a 234.342mph, then dropped to a 233.887mph, but the steadiness of his laps three and four – 232.814mph and 232.687mph – enabled him to slot into second behind Ferrucci.
That didn’t last long as Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing – who has never qualified outside the top four here – became the second driver to run two 234mph laps and was only 0.11mph slower than Ferrucci’s benchmark.
Alex Palou, runner-up in the 2021 Indy 500, opened with the fastest lap of the session, a 234.812mph, but a 1.9mph dropoff across the four laps pulled the No. 10 car’s average down to third best.
The 2016 Indy winner Alexander Rossi started with a 234.0mph, ended with a 231.84mph, resulting in an average of 233.110mph, temporarily putting him into sixth, but then came his third teammate. Felix Rosenqvist produced two 234mph laps to start, virtually matching Ferrucci’s effort, but then his third and fourth laps were notably superior, bleeding only 0.9mph across the run. The Swede delivered the only 234mph average across his four laps to jump to the top.
Thus the Fast Six shootout (5:15 p.m. ET) will see the two Arrow McLarens of Rosenqvist and O’Ward taking on Ganassi’s Palou and Dixon, Ferrucci of AJ Foyt Racing and VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing.
Set in stone now are positions seven through 12, so row three for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 will comprise three former winners — Rossi, Sato and Kanaan — while row four will contain two winners and a rookie – Ericsson, Pedersen and Power.