With the exception of Ed Carpenter Racing’s impressive rookie Rinus VeeKay, the fastest dozen runners in qualifying trim and with the spec BorgWarner turbos turned up to 1.5-bar boost were all Honda powered.
Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden will start from 13th on the three-by-three grid on Sunday, Aug.23, but Roger Penske’s three Indy winners – Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves – will start from 22nd, 25th and 28th.
Following everybody’s initial runs, 2018 Indy winner Power tried twice more to improve his speed, but abandoned the second attempt when his first lap didn’t match his previous best. Castroneves, a four-time polesitter at Indy who’s still seeking his record-matching fourth 500 win, did improve his speed on his second run, but so marginally that he didn’t improve his position, while Pagenaud – last year’s pole winner as well as race winner – emerged for another shot but felt uncomfortable about something with the left-rear and pulled in after just one lap.
Castroneves and Pagenaud had been cursed with late initial runs – literally the luck of the draw on Friday night – but given that Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly and Patricio O’Ward (all Chevy-powered) were able to improve their grid slots later in the afternoon suggested…