IndyCar — 2017 Indianapolis 500 Qualifying (Dawn of a new century)

Words by John Olsakovsky, Photo by Doug Patterson

As the dawn breaks over Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the reaction is not one of anticipation and joy, but one of anxiety and concern. This year marks the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, meaning that year is the start of a second century of cars circulating this historic Speedway. What will the future bring?

If the forecasts have any semblance of accuracy, the future will bring rain for both Qualification Days on Saturday and Sunday. There are a lot of scenarios that could have Qualifying pushed to Monday, with each driver getting a single qualifying run and no Fast 9 qualifying. It’s also possible that Qualifying is a complete wash-out, meaning drivers lining up based on championship points. This would hurt all the one-off drivers such as Zack Veach, Pippa Mann, and Buddy Lazier. Oh yeah, that wacky Spaniard in the orange car could become a member of the Last Row Club, too.

Judging from the Fast Friday practice speeds (which include the increased turbocharger boost available for qualifying), Honda appears to be on point. The fastest Chevrolet-powered car is that of Juan Pablo Montoya who was fifth fastest, with the next being Helio Castroneves thirteenth on the charts.

This being, I’m sure y’all want to know how Fernando Alonso will do. Friday showed him a tick quicker than Montoya (231.827 mph or 38.8220 seconds), so he appears to have the speed part figured out. He also drew the 33rd qualifying draw. Assuming we get a qualifying session in, you’ll have to wait until the very end. It really couldn’t be scripted better.

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Paul KieferJr

Alonso also found the limits of his speed. He tagged the wall once doing 230 MPH.

Dave Domenicano

Will the qualifications play LIVE on YouTube?


Wow, this is going to be great. Get your popcorn ready. Should be around 11PM when Alonso hits the track.

Tim C.

Just saw Alonso’s qualifying run. He looked very smooth on all 4 laps. Qualifying time (as of 4:30 pm CST) is very respectable among those that have run so far.


An unusual Sunday morning, flipping between qualifying at Indy, and Paris (formula E). There is quite a contrast in speed, 230mph average, vs not quite so much. Alonso did well, 3rd fastest, ahead of a lot of very experienced Indy racers. 230mph, thats 370kph! Does the Indy circuit ‘rubber in’ as qualifying progresses? The commentators have mentioned wind, track temp, air temp and tyre wear, but not any effects of more rubber on the surface. A comparison with Formula E, with ice powered cars we are used to interpreting their speed from the engine note and attitude of the car.… Read more »