Qualifying for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway started in dry conditions but by the end the pole was earned on a wet track by Sebastian Saavedra of KV AFS Racing. It was the first Verizon P1 Award for Saavedra in his 42nd career Verizon IndyCar Series start.
Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport was in line to win the pole during the Firestone Fast Six session as he had the fastest lap but he spun off Turn 14 of the rain soaked track in the final minute and hit the wall. By rules his fastest two laps were thrown out meaning the pole went to Saavedra who was sitting in second at the time.
"I love the rain," said Saavedra. "It was crazy at first because we didn’t know what to expect from the track – if it was going to be wet, if it was going to be dry. We were comfortable yesterday, as it got hotter, we just needed to work a little bit more – especially with the rain. We made a huge leap this morning and then the whole session was just weird. It started to rain and went from wet, to dry, to super dry, to super wet. I loved it."
Starting second is rookie Jack Hawksworth which will make it an unusual front row for Saturday's standing start. Ryan Hunter-Reay will start third with Simon Pagenaud alongside in fourth. Row three belongs to Will Power and Scott Dixon who qualified fifth and sixth.
The rest of the starting grid for the 82-lap race is Sebastien Bourdais in seventh, Juan Pablo Montoya eighth, Tony Kanaan ninth, and Helio Castroneves tenth. Starting 11th will be James Hinchcliffe with Graham Rahal 12th, Marco Andretti 13th, Ryan Briscoe 14th, Josef Newgarden 15th, Takuma Sato 16th, Carlos Huertas 17th, Justin Wilson 18th, Carlos Munoz 19th, and Martin Plowman 20th. Frank Montagney will start 21st, Oriol Servia 22nd, Charlie Kimball 23rd, Mike Conway 24th, and Mikhail Aleshin 25th.
The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis kicks off the month of May for the Verizon IndyCar Series at IMS. It all ends Sunday, May 25th for the running of the 98th Indianapolis 500. Saturday's race around the road course can be seen at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.Tags: Grand Prix of Indianapolis, indianapolis motor speedway, IndyCar Series, Jack Hawksworth, KV AFS Racing, Motorsports, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Sebastian Saavedra, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power