Hinchcliffe takes Indy 500 pole

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On the last qualifying run of the day, James Hinchcliffe edged American Josef Newgarden to take the Indianapolis 500 pole on Sunday with a speed of 230.760.

Hinchcliffe’s feat capped a yearlong comeback that began with him watching last year’s 500 from a hospital bed having nearly lost his life in horrific practice crash.

“I came into this month hoping we’d have a new story to talk about after what happened last year,” Hinchcliffe said. “I think we did it. We’ve got the best seat in the house for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

“It’s incredible. It’s five years to the day that we did this with Tagliani,” team co-owner Sam Schmidt said. “For the 100th running, we’ve put an effort into this since last September. It’s been an all-around team effort. Obviously, I can’t turn a wrench, but my god, the things that happened today!”

Hinchcliffe won the pole for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 five years to the day after Schmidt Peterson Motorsports won the pole for the 2011 ‘500’ with driver Alex Tagliani. That was the last Indy pole for Honda; this one marks the first at the “500” since Honda and Chevrolet engines began competing in 2012.

Newgarden, in the No. 21 Preferred Freezer Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, was second with a run of 230.700 mph, with 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay third at 230.646 in the No. DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport.

Newgarden will make his first front row start and the third in four years for Ed Carpenter Racing, though he could only stand and watch as his blazing 230.700 mph four-lap average was nipped for the pole at 5:44 p.m. by Hinchcliffe.

“It was a tough pill to swallow,” Newgarden said. “I try to remind myself it’s not just about today’s battle, it’s about the war, and we’ve got to try and get that done next week in the 500. But it was still a lot of fun, just to be up there and have this opportunity to compete.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion, rounds out the front row in the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport. Row 2 consists of Andretti Autosport’s Townsend Bell and Carlos Munoz in the fourth and fifth spots, with Team Penske’s Will Power on the outside in sixth.

 Qualifying in Row 3 were Hinchcliffe’s teammate Mikhail Aleshin and a pair of Penske drivers, season points leader Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves.

Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion, qualified a remarkable 13th after a late engine swap in his No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Ganassi crewmen made the swap in 64 minutes and made it to technical inspection by three minutes.

Defending Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya will start 17th in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The final extended practice for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 will be Monday. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be Sunday, May 29.

Indianapolis 500 Starting Grid

Pos. (Car No.);Name;Make;Speed (time)

1. (5); James Hinchcliffe;Honda;;230.760 (2:36.0063)

2. (21);Josef Newgarden;Chevrolet;230.700 (2:36.0407)

3. (28);Ryan Hunter-Reay;Honda;230.648 (2:36.0821)

4. (29);Townsend Bell;Honda;230.481 (2:36.1950)

5. (26);Carlos Munoz;Honda;230.287 (2:36.3264)

6. (12);Will Power;Chevrolet;229.669 (2:36.7471)

7. (7);Mikhail Aleshin;Honda;229.562 (2:38.8205)

8. (22);Simon Pagenaud;Chevrolet;229.139 (2:37.1096)

9. (3);Helio Castroneves;Chevrolet;229.115 (2:37.1265)

10. (77);Oriol Servia;Honda; 229.060 (2:37.1638)

11. (98);Alexander Rossi;Honda; 228.473 (2:37.5679)

12. (14);Takuma Sato;Honda; 228.029 (2:37.8747)

13. (27);Marco Andretti;Honda;;227.969 (2:37.9161)

14. (9);Scott Dixon;Chevrolet; 227.991 (2:37.9007)

15. (6);JR Hildebrand;Chevrolet; 227.876 (2:37.9809)

16. (42);Charlie Kimball;Chevrolet; 227.822 (2:38.0180)

17. (2);Juan Pablo Montoya;Chevrolet;227.684 (2:38.1141)

18. (10);Tony Kanaan;Chevrolet;227.430 (2:38.2906)

19. (11);Sebastien Bourdais;Chevrolet;227.428 (2:38.2919

20. (20);Ed Carpenter;Chevrolet;227.226 (2:38.4325)

21. (19);Gabby Chaves;Honda;227.192 (2:38.4566)

22. (8);Max Chilton;Chevrolet;226.686 (2:38.8100)

23. (24);Sage Karam;Chevrolet;226.436 (2:38.9851)

24. (18);Conor Daly;Honda;226.312 (2:39.0721)

25. (63);Pippa Mann;Honda;226.006 (2:39.2877)

26. (15);Graham Rahal;Honda;225.847 (2:39.4002)

27. (61);Matt Brabham;Chevrolet;225.727 (2:39.4846)

28. (88);Bryan Clauson;Honda;225.266 (2:39.8111)

29. (16);Spencer Pigot;Honda;224.847 (2:40.1087)

30. (25);Stefan Wilson;Chevrolet;224.602 (2:40.2833)

31. (41);Jack Hawksworth;Honda;224.596 (2:40.2878)

32. (4);Buddy Lazier;Chevrolet;222.154 (2:42.0498)

33. (35);Alex Tagliani;Honda;No speed (crash)

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