Indy 500 Pole Day is easily one of the most dramatic days in sports each year. Last year proved why it is one of the best days on the sporting calendar. In 2011, Sam Schmidt Motorsports’ Alex Tagliani grabbed the top spot from the favorites as he was literally the final qualifier for the day in the Fast Nine Shootout.
This year’s Pole Day should be even more suspenseful though for different reasons.
One being that we literally have no idea who will win the pole for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. At least last year, Tag had been fast all month long prior to the qualification days. The reason why it’s different is that the times so far don’t really matter, except for what we saw on Fast Friday.
It is all because of the extra horsepower boost added on Friday. (The boost will also be used for time trials this weekend.) But, even some of the top times Friday were run in the tow of another car.
Of course, there are certain drivers who you can expect to be near the top tomorrow. Look no further than the Chevrolets. They have been the best all month long, especially after the extra horsepower boost was added on Friday. The cars have been consistently on top of the charts, especially those of Andretti Autosport, and more recently, Team Penske.
But, again, there is an unknown with the new cars this year. Will someone’s turbo on the engine just quit? How will the car handle in some of hottest temperatures thus far, resulting in a slicker track? Plus, like in the past couple years, will there be more a battle to get into the top nine or the top 24 when 3:30 p.m. rolls around?
I suspect that Helio Castroneves will win his FIFTH career pole at the Indy 500 on Saturday in dramatic fashion. But, that’s as clear as a guess as you or I can make. You will see a little bit of everything on Saturday!