James Hinchcliffe put together a poignant and fast run to lead the first wave of qualifying Saturday afternoon for the Indianapolis 500. With one of the late Greg Moore's iconic red gloves aboard his Andretti Autosport entry, the Canadian turned the fastest four-lap average at 225.746mph.
“It's tough to be too upset with that,” Hinchcliffe said in the immediate aftermath. “The GoDaddy team's working so great together. I think Marco's gonna go out and beat me right now. I was nervous before, with butterflies the whole run. Greg and I got to do qualifying laps at Indy.”
As in yesterday's Fast Friday practice, Chevrolet teams have held the upper hand in qualifying thus far. After most cars completed their first qualifying attempts, Chevys are in eight of the top nine positions, with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing rookie Josef Newgarden as Honda's lone interloper in eighth.
Two cars – Scott Dixon (ABOVE) and Marco Andretti – incurred over-boost penalties on their runs, which essentially shuts off the engine and takes nearly one lap to recover. Dixon had it occur twice, Andretti once, and Andretti's second lap of 223.758 was an anomaly among his other three laps all above 224.9mph.
Behind Hinchcliffe's 225.746, set early in the afternoon, the fourth driver out, Will Power, registered a 225.399 that had held for fastest speed of the day. The rest of the top nine as of 2:30 p.m. ET was Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, Andretti, Newgarden and E.J. Viso.
Kanaan recovered after his first run was voided for not having ballast on his car, and he ran a four-lap average of 224.751 only a half mph off his morning time, when the track was 20 degrees cooler.
Two drivers had accidents. Bryan Clauson's fourth lap on his first run ended when he lost the rear of his car and crashed at Turn 1, tearing off the left sidepod, while Oriol Servia spun out of Turn 4 coming to the green flag for his first run. Both teams were working to fix the cars and are likely to qualify on Sunday.
Only Ed Carpenter had a run complete not fast enough to be in the top 24; Sebastien Bourdais and Wade Cunningham each waved off runs after their third laps. Sebastian Saavedra lost an engine in his AFS/Andretti entry.