Ganassi 1-2 At Indianapolis
May 10, 2008 | 6:59 P.M. EST
Dixon, who was fifth on the starting grid mid-afternoon, pulled his qualified time from his first attempt and put in another four-lap effort around the historic 2.5-mile oval. Minutes later, he had taken the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award presented by AutoZone from the grasp of Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe with a 226.366 mph average.
The speed held up as eight other drivers made qualifying attempts in the final two hours, including Wheldon, who was .256 mph off of Dixon's pace.
The pole is Dixon's 11th in his IndyCar Series career, but his first at the Indianapolis 500 in six starts. The honor comes with a $100,000 check from PEAK Motor Oil.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Dixon, who has two poles and one victory in 2008. "It means a lot. "It's not just for me, though. I think a lot of it, and I think (team owner) Chip (Ganassi) and probably (team managing director) Mike (Hull) and (chief mechanic) Ricky (Davis) have touched on it already, but it's the hard work that goes into it. Indy, for our team, I think our development and working toward this race started well early in the winter. I think Chip and Mike and all the guys in the team are adamant on putting up a strong fight for this year's 500"
Wheldon had earned the third starting position on the grid, but at 5:38 p.m., he waved it off to challenge Dixon for the pole. Although he fell short of the pole, Wheldon took second, knocking Briscoe to the outside of Row 1.
Helio Castroneves, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, will start fourth, while Andretti Green Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Tony Kanaan qualified fifth and sixth, respectively.
Row Three will be occupied by Marco Andretti, Vitor Meira and Hideki Mutoh, who is the highest-qualifying rookie.
Ed Carpenter will start 10th and Tomas Scheckter 11th.
Qualifying for positions 12-22 is scheduled for May 11. Positions 23-33 will be filled on May 17, with Bump Day on May 18. The 500-Mile Race is May 25.