Indy 500 Qualifying 2020: Pole Results, Starting Grid and Pre-Race Storylines

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 16, 2020

Marco Andretti poses for a photo during qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Marco Andretti will sit on the Indianapolis 500 pole for the first time in his career.

Andretti beat out Scott Dixon during Sunday's "Fast Nine" session by .017 seconds to earn the honor of leading the field to the green flag August 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 33-year-old is the second member of his family to sit on the pole for the prestigious open-wheel race. His grandfather Mario last started first in 1987, and his father Michael never earned the honor. 

Andretti will share the front row with a pair of previous Indy 500 winners. Dixon will start second and Takuma Sato will line up third. 


Sunday Qualifying Results

1. Marco Andretti (231.068 miles per hour)

2. Scott Dixon (231.051 mph)

3. Takuma Sato (230.725 mph)

4. Rinus VeeKay (230.704 mph)

5. Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.648 mph)

6. James Hinchcliffe (229.870 mph)

7. Alex Palou (229.676 mph)

8. Graham Rahal (229.380 mph)

9. Alexander Rossi (229.234 mph)

All speeds based on four-lap average. 


Starting Grid

Row 1: Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato

Row 2: Rinus VeeKay, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe

Row 3: Alex Palou, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi

Row 4: Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, Spencer Pigot

Row 5: Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist, Pato O'Ward

Row 6: Ed Carpenter, Zach Veach, Conor Daly

Row 7: Santino Ferrucci, Jack Harvey, Oliver Askew

Row 8: Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Dalton Kellett

Row 9: Simon Pagenaud, Fernando Alonso, James Davison

Row 10: Helio Castroneves, Charlie Kimball, Max Chilton

Row 11: Sage Karam, JR Hildebrand, Ben Hanley


Pre-Race Storylines

Will Marco Andretti Remain Fast and Win 1st Indy 500?

Andretti's speed over the last three days will put him in the position of pre-race favorite. 

The No. 98 car driver posted the fastest practice speed Friday, topped the chart in Saturday's initial qualifying round and bested the other eight drivers in contention for the pole Sunday. 

NBC Sports @NBCSports

An Andretti will lead the field to green in next Sunday's #Indy500! @MarcoAndretti has won the pole at @IMS! https://t.co/dLnZv8aUmZ

The titles of pole-sitter and favorite will come with pressure, which is something the Andretti family has felt plenty of at the Indy 500. 

Mario Andretti is the only member of the three-generation racing family to drink the milk and kiss the bricks, while his son and grandson have had some close calls. 

Marco Andretti came close to winning the race in 2006, but he was passed by Sam Hornish Jr. on the final lap. 

The 2020 pole-sitter has seen three different teammates reach Victory Lane since 2014. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi and Sato won for Andretti Autosport in that span. 

With so much going in his favor, Andretti could be in the best position to join his grandfather and teammates on the list of Indy 500 champions.


Can Chevrolet Cars Catch Up with Honda? 

Honda-powered cars dominated the first week of on-track activities. 

Eight of Sunday's nine competitors were in Honda vehicles. Rinus VeeKay had the lone Chevrolet in the mix for the pole. 

The lack of speed from the Chevrolet cars placed a handful of notable drivers deeper down the starting grid than expected.

Josef Newgarden will start 13th, Ed Carpenter is on the sixth row in 16th position and Will Power and Tony Kanaan feature on Row 8.

The Chevrolet teams have a full week of adjustments and some practice sessions to play catch-up with the Hondas, but it is going to be a tough task to match their speed. 

If the Chevrolet machines do not improve, Honda could get its first win at the Indy 500 since Sato in 2017.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.