Ryan Briscoe wins Indy 500 pole

The 2012 Indy 500 Pole Day is in the books, and the first in 2011 were mostly last in 2012, and what was last was first this year.

Ryan Briscoe won the 9-car shootout, posting a fast lap of 226.484. James Hinchcliffe was only an eye blink slower, at 226.481, and a subsequent attempt didn't do any better.

In all, 3 Andretti Racing cars in the top 9. To say that Andretti will have a much different post-Pole Day party this year than last year is an understatement. Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified 3rd, and Marco Andretti qualified 4th.

Likewise, all 3 Penske cars were in the top 9. Joining Briscoe are Will Power in 5th, and Helio Castroneves in 6th.

Two of the 3 KV racing entries, Tony Kanaan and team mate EJ Viso. Kanaan will start 8th, and Viso will start 9th, with Rubens Barrichello starting 10th.


No Target Chip Ganassi cars will be in this year's Fast 9 competition for the Indianapolis 500. Indeed, only one Honda-powered car — driven by Josef Newgarden — spoiled the all-Chevy horsepower fest. "It sucks. It totally sucks" commented a discouraged Dario Franchitti.


The track bit three drivers today. The last to be bit was Ed Carpenter — who had just been bumped from the top 24 spots — tried another run around 3:30 pm. His car snapped into a 3/4 spin on the first lap, hitting the Turn 2 wall with the left side of the car. The car slid backwards along the wall, at on point lifting the car off of the ground, then ground the top of the roll bar into the wall. Carpenter was unhurt, but the car was close to a total write-off.

Previously, the track bit Bryan Clauson and Oriol Servia. Clauson does not have a backup car, but the damage appeared to be repairable.


So who didn't qualify?

Sebasitien Bourdais was bumped from the field, which isn't surprising given their lack of track time this month. Team mate Katherine Legge attempted to qualify, but was waved off when no one from her team appeared to wave the green flag to start the run. Both AJ Foyt cars — Mike Conway and Wade Cunningham — were bumped from the top 24. Neither Lotus car (de Silvestro, Alesi) attempted a qualification run. And of course, Ed Carpenter, Oriol Servia and Bryan Clauson wrecked today.


So will Jean Alesi drop out of the Indy 500? Press reports have a despondent Jean commenting that he doesn't feel safe at the slower speeds running in traffic. No doubt that both Lotus entries will soon hear from Race Control next week that they are running afoul of the 105% rule (their lap speeds need to be no more than 105% of the lead lap times), but whether or not they are quickly black flagged remains a subject of speculation. Tim Wohlford, AutoRacing1.com

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