Briscoe edges Hinchcliffe in closest Indy 500 qualifying
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Ryan Briscoe beat James Hinchcliffe by the slimmest of margins to win the pole position for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500.
Briscoe's margin over Hinchcliffe was 0.0023 seconds, making it the closest 1-2 qualifying finish in race history. Time trials for the 1970 Indy 500 featured a margin of 0.01 seconds between pole winner Al Unser and second- place Johnny Rutherford.
During the 90-minute "Fast Nine" shootout, Briscoe posted a four-lap average of 226.484 mph to earn his first pole for the Indy 500. He also gave Team Penske its fifth straight pole in as many races this season. Penske has also won four races so far this year -- all of them contested on road/street courses. The 500-mile race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the first oval event of the season.
Moments after Briscoe's attempt, Hinchcliffe, who is in his first season with Andretti Autosport, turned in a four-lap average of 226.481 mph. He was attempting to become the second Canadian to win the pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His fellow countryman, Alex Tagliani, won the top starting position for this race last year.
Hinchcliffe's teammates, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, qualified third and fourth, respectively. Hunter-Reay will lineup with Briscoe and Hinchcliffe on the front row for the Indy 500.
Briscoe's teammates, Will Power and Helio Castroneves, a three-time Indy 500 winner, qualified fifth and sixth in that order. They will share row two with Andretti.
In its return to IndyCar as an engine supplier this year, Chevrolet locked down eight of the top-nine starting spots. Rookie Josef Newgarden, who uses a Honda engine in his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing entry, qualified seventh. Newgarden topped the speed charts in three of the first five days of practice at Indy.
Tony Kanaan and E.J. Viso advanced into the shootout but did not complete their qualifying runs during the final segment. They will share the third row with Newgarden.
Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon failed to make it into the shootout. Franchitti, the three-time defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion and two-time Indy 500 winner, qualified 16th. Dixon, who is also a former series champion and race winner, placed one spot better than his teammate in 15th.
Twenty-four drivers secured their starting positions for the May 27 race. The remainder of the 33-car field will be determined in Sunday's "Bump Day," which is schedule to begin at noon (ET).
05/19 19:18:44 ET