After one day of qualifying for the 100th Indianapolis 500, James Hinchcliffe leads the way and will be one of nine drivers vying for the pole Sunday.
Saturday's session determined the Fast Nine, who will all have a chance to compete for the pole, while the rest of the field will qualify again Sunday to determine spots 10 through 33. Here is a rundown of how every driver fared on Day 1:
|Indianapolis 500 Day 1 Qualifying Speeds|
|Position||Driver||Average Speed (MPH)|
|12||Juan Pablo Montoya||229.745|
Several big-name drivers secured a spot in the top nine, but Hinchcliffe's impressive run was enough to put him in the catbird seat entering Sunday.
According to Nick DeGroot of Motorsport.com, Hinchcliffe took the top spot by setting a blistering pace on three of his four laps:
The Canadian star pulled off the feat one year after a devastating crash during Indy 500 practice forced him to miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger was among those who applauded Hinchcliffe for his efforts:
Hinchcliffe beat out a pair of former Indianapolis 500 winners in Ryan Hunter-Reay and Helio Castroneves, as well as former points champion Will Power.
Townsend Bell was in first after the initial qualifying run-through but ultimately had to settle for fifth.
Despite his excellent speed, the 41-year-old veteran wasn't entirely pleased with his performance, according to IndyCar on NBCSN:
The same can be said for a number of high-profile drivers who fell short of making it into the Fast Nine.
Former Indy 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan all missed out, as did perennial contender Marco Andretti.
Per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, Andretti was especially upset with how his first qualifying run played out:
Since only 33 drivers were competing for 33 positions, everyone qualified for the race, including the three drivers who did not complete their qualifying runs.
Max Chilton was among those who did not attempt to qualify due to a crash during practice. As seen in this video courtesy of the Indianapolis Star's Clark Wade, his car was in shambles following the incident:
Pippa Mann was also involved in a wreck, although her malfunction occurred during a qualifying run. IndyCar Series on Twitter provided a look at the miscue:
The start of qualifying was delayed due to inclement weather, and Dave Griffiths of Fox59 in Indianapolis believed the conditions played a role in Mann's crash:
Mann commented on the situation following her qualifying attempt and seemed optimistic that she and her team would bounce back, per Rob Peeters of the Indianapolis Star:
Gabby Chaves also failed to post a time because he waived his final qualifying attempt in order to allow others to take additional runs.
The Fast Nine ensured they will start in the first three rows of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but their times from Saturday will be wiped out Sunday. That means Hinchcliffe could conceivably start ninth despite finishing first on Day 1.
While Saturday's results matter in terms of determining who has a lot of speed entering the Indy 500, it doesn't guarantee success in the race.
In fact, no Fast Nine driver has won the Indianapolis 500 since Dan Wheldon pulled off the feat in 2011.
That means stars such as Montoya, Dixon, Kanaan and Andretti don't need to panic just because they didn't enjoy ideal runs Saturday.
Even so, Hinchcliffe and the rest of the Fast Nine drive fantastic cars, and having the chance to chase the pole should give them a great deal of confidence entering the Indy 500.
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