Indy pole-winner Dixon says Bourdais would have beaten him

Although Scott Dixon was thrilled with the third Indy 500 pole of his illustrious session he believes that Sebastien Bourdais would have beaten him to the top spot had he not been injured in yesterday’s qualifying session.

Indy pole-winner Dixon says Bourdais would have beaten him
Polesitter Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Sébastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Polesitter Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Sébastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Dixon set an average pole time of 232.164mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda for the fastest four-lap average since Arie Luyendyk’s 236.986mph run in 1996. However, he believed the #18 Dale Coyne Racing-Honda of Bourdais would have been the car to beat if not for the Frenchman’s huge shunt that left him with multiple fractures of his pelvis, and a broken hip.

The Frenchman's first two laps in yesterday's qualifying were almost 1mph faster than Dixon's at that time.

Said Dixon: “Got to give a shout out to Sebastien Bourdais, too. Saw him this morning, and he's doing well.

“He's a teammate with me in [Ganassi’s] Ford GT program, we've spent a lot of time together over the years, and he's a hell of a driver.

“To be honest, I think he would have been the one who snatched the pole today. So just got to wish him well. I know he's going to be on the mend quickly and hopefully he can be in a car here very soon.”

Dixon admitted that he was shocked at his opening lap of 232.595mph, also the fastest qualifying lap of Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 21 years.

“I thought maybe the dash had broken on the steering wheel and brought up a fake number, but yeah, I seriously don't think we expected to see the speed that we did. The whole pre-lineup for qualifying, I was debating with Chris Simmons, my race engineer – ‘Man, we trimmed too much, we trimmed too much,’ – and I was basically talking myself out of it and seeing if he could maybe put some more downforce in the car. He was like, ‘Don't worry, it's going to be fine, it's going to be fine.’

“When I saw that first number, I was like, ‘Wow, this is impressive!’ So obviously a huge thanks to Honda, too. They've been pushing extremely hard with the engine. They're definitely pushing it to the limit.”

The four-time IndyCar champion and 2008 Indy 500 winner admitted that despite his happiness with pole, his focus was swiftly turning to next weekend’s 101st Indianapolis 500.

“Indianapolis is always about two big hills throughout the weeks, and you've got the pole first, and then into the race. This is the first step of it, but now our focus is obviously quickly transferred to tomorrow. We've got another four hours of track time and trying to make the #9 car as fast as possible.

“Today was fantastic to get the pole, but emphasis is on the 500.”

Dixon admitted that the restricted running in qualifying trim due to the bad weather over the past three days had made the Fast Nine shootout a “nerve-wracking” affair.

“It's been a little weird in the fact that both days we haven't run in the practice, so the first time for myself and my teammates has been just getting in the car qualifying, and it's kind of daunting. I've never done it before.

“You have all these crazy things that run through your mind, especially when you watch a lot of the other competitors either touch the wall or have a really bad runs. You think you're maybe heading in the wrong direction and the computer isn't telling you the right settings for the ambient conditions and things like that.

“The last two days have probably been the most nerve-wracking for me. I don't know whether it's because I'm getting older and emotion is becoming stronger, but it's definitely tough. This year I think more so, too; if you get the first lap right and you're like, OK, this is not so bad, but lap 2, 3 and 4, the fall-off on the tires has been quite dramatic, and that has been the hard thing. If you have a rough first or second lap, you know that lap 3 and 4 are really going to be tough, and yesterday that was the case for us.”

shares
comments
Indy 500: Fast Nine quotes
Previous article

Indy 500: Fast Nine quotes

Next article

Alonso says overboost may have cost him front row slot

Alonso says overboost may have cost him front row slot
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021