Simon Pagenaud driving for Penske – who has 17 Indy 500 wins – took the pole for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 at 2:36.5271 seconds for a 229.992 mph average speed. With positions 10-33 already set for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500, the drivers comprising the Firestone Fast Nine took to the track on Sunday afternoon to see who would win the pole position.
Team Penske placed Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud in the grouping, with Pagenaud besting them all to win his first career Indianapolis 500 pole position and the 18th for team owner Roger Penske.
Rain showers pushed back the qualifying before skies cleared and the track dried at 4:30 pm ET. Most of the competitors received advantageous cloud cover during their run, but Pagenaud took to the track under a bright sun. He was still able to improve on his speed from Saturday to continue a strong month of May that has also seen the Frenchman win the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. (AutoInformed.com – Aussie Will Power Wins the 102nd Indianapolis 500 for Penske)
Power and Newgarden drove strong runs at the storied oval but could not produce the speed to challenge for the pole. They they will start sixth and eighth, respectively. Helio Castroneves locked himself into the 12th starting position during Saturday’s time trials and did not take to the track.
McLaren continued to demonstrate its lack of racing competence as two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso will not compete in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 in a McLaren Racing entry powered by Chevrolet’s 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V6 IndyCar engine. The car lacked enough speed to make the show, much like McLaren’s disastrously slow Formula One entries this year.
Once upon a time, Chevrolet and McLaren had a formidable racing history dating back to the mid-1960s. In 1966, Chevrolet and McLaren appeared in the Can-Am Series – one that makes the current Indy spec cars and their limited aero packages laughable given what was then an all-out racing series – ‘run what you brung.’ Their teams won more than 70% of the races during the next seven years, including 23 in a row from 1968-1970. Given the open spec nature of the series, development was as quick as the cars, and the best Can Am cars were faster than the Formula One cars of the time. The so-called “Bruce <McLaren> and Denny <Hume >show” was brought to you by a big-block Chevy V8.