Event Coverage: 2016 Indianapolis 500 Qualifying


Stefan Wilson is making his first ever Indy 500 start.  Stefan is the younger brother of the late Justin Wilson and is racing in Justin’s honor.  True fact: Stefan used Justin's actual race notes to prepare for this race.  Stefan qualified 30th and while he may be another long shot to win, the fact is, he is in the show.  If you missed out on any of the cool eBay charity auction items last year, you can still buy some other #BadassWilson gear that will support his family.  
Scott Dixon is always quick at Indy, but Ganassi has been missing something from its mojo in 2016.  Dixon is the team’s best placed car, starting in 13th.  The 2015 IndyCar champ and 2008 500 champion will have to use his smarts to work his way through the field if he wants a shot at the win.
AMERICA!  Alexander Rossi is America’s last F1 driver, having run a handful of races for Manor F1 in 2015.  In 2016, he is racing for a partnered Bryan Herta/Andretti Autosport in his NAPA sponsored Honda (which looks stunning).  Manor drivers are popping up all over IndyCar, as Max Chilton (who drove for Manor/Marussia in 2013 and 14) is also making his first start at the 500.  While Chilton is starting his Ganassi Chevy in 22nd, Rossi starts 11th, the fastest rookie in the field.  Andretti’s cars have come alive at Indy after a dreadful start to the 2016 season.  Count Rossi as a dark horse to win the race.
Want another dark horse winner?  Try Oriol Servia.  The likeable Spanish CART driver just missed out on the Fast 9 and was quickest of the outsiders.  He starts 10th.  Servia is a calm and collected driver and SPM’s Hondas are fast.  Servia is another who could sneak up to the front while nobody's looking.
Helio Castroneves is always a favorite to win.  If he can win the 100th race, it will be his 4th ever win, putting him in rarified air indeed.  You can bet “Spiderman” will climb every bit of fencing at the track if he can pull it off (that catch fence is all brand new this year, so don’t scratch it, Helio!).  Helio only qualified 9th, but he knows how to channel Team Penske mentor Rick Mears and work his way to the front.  Helio’s car and helmet are throwback liveries to Mears’ famous Pennzoil specials, cars he won the ‘84 and ‘88 running of the great race with.
Simon Pagenaud is just plain fast.  He won in Long Beach, he won at Barber, he won the Indy GP, and he would give up every one of those wins to take the 500.  He hasn't finished worse than 2nd this year, which bodes well for his chances.  Simon was quick in 2015, but late race contact with Justin Wilson dropped him out of the running.  Pagenaud has a point to prove in 2016.
Josef Newgarden was the 4th car of the Fast 9 and laid down the law.  His first lap was the fastest of the day at 231.551 MPH.  His four lap average was 230.700.  He stood on that lap as drivers came and went.  Could Newgarden pull off an upset pole?  His team owner, Ed Carpenter, has sat on pole twice and Ed is the nephew of former track owner Tony George.  

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