Third-generation racer Marco Andretti is in the box seat for his first pole position at the classic Indianapolis 500.
He clocked the quickest time in the shoot-out that decides the Fast Nine for the final runs for the first three rows of the 33-car grid.
Andretti ran a four-lap average of 231.351 miles-and-hour in his Dallara Honda, or 372.323km/h as he continued his fast form from the previous days’ running.
In contrast, the two Aussies in the race – former winner Will Power and James Davison – were only quick enough for places in the 20-something midfield.
Power lapped at 229.701mph (369.667km/h) and will start 22nd, while Davison battled to 228.747mph (368.132km/h) and will hit the grid in 27th.
Grand Prix superstar Fernando Alonso also had troubles in qualifying, only managing 26th, and says “All our focus now is on the race.”
For Andretti, whose grandfather Mario won at Indy in 1969 and whose father Michael was third in 2001 and 2006, there is plenty of pressure.
“When you roll off with speed, that’s always the Indianapolis first hurdle. When you get over that, it’s about fine-tuning and circumstances, so hopefully we are on the better end of things,” says Andretti.
For Power, like Alonso, the focus is on the race.
“I’m not sure what else we could do out there today. I was wide open the whole time,” he says.
“We will see where we end up and just focus on the race and get back to race mode as a team.
“This will be the furthest back I’ll probably ever started here, but you can win from anywhere in this race. It will be a long day, but … we will continue to work on the race car and have some fun next weekend.”
Davison admits he is struggling but has not given up.
“Today was a frustrating day. We had speed in the car running high 230s on the first lap. (But) No matter what we tried, in advance or on the fly to tune the balance, we would lose it.
“Not only would we lose it, but we would be fighting a car that pushed and was loose. Through no lack of effort, we have ended up qualifying further back than we would have liked, but there is 500 miles ahead, and we will regroup and do what we can to get on top of the balance in the final practice we have prior to the race.”