Saturday Qualifying Wrap-Up

One thing about this qualifying format, it not only provides drama – it usually produces surprises. In 2018, James Hinchcliffe was the surprise odd man out when the gun sounded. Two years ago, Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso was knocked out of the race by Kyle Kaiser and tiny Juncos Racing.

Tomorrow, the winner of the 2018 Indianapolis 500, Will Power, is in danger of missing the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Power will battle it out with Simona De Silvestro, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball and RC Enerson for the final three starting spots that are still up for grabs.

After Fast Friday, it should not come as a surprise that one of the Team Penske cars is in this position. You just have to wonder why it is Power’s team. I would have thought that Simon Pagenaud or rookie Scott McLaughlin would have stood a better chance of being on the outside looking in than Will Power.

You know that Beth Paretta thought she was getting a boost when she aligned her start-up program with Team Penske. She will probably spend Saturday night second-guessing that stance. But it has been a generation since Team Penske ever had a car fail to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.Who can blame Paretta for wanting to hitch on to that wagon. I can tell you someone who is probably spending tonight thanking his lucky stars that he is not with Team Penske right now, and that is Helio Castroneves. He is in Sunday’s Firestone Fast Nine while his former teammates are either locked in back in the pack or battling for survival.

You could sense desperation among the Power and De Silvestro teams as the 5:50 pm deadline approached. Both made desperation runs, b ut neither was successful. I got photos of each, just before leaving on their runs.



Since Conor Daly did not make the Fast Nine, and Dalton Kellett is locked into the field in the thirtieth starting position, I obviously need to re-do my predictions. I still say that RC Enerson and Top Gun Racing will not make the field. Based on some things I heard today, there is a little discord on the team of Charlie Kimball from Fast Friday. If everything I heard was true, I’m guessing that Kimball will not make the field tomorrow.

Up front, logic will tell you that Scott Dixon will win the pole. But logic does not always fall into lace around here. I think Dixon will start on the front row, but I am going to go with my heart over my head and say that Tony Kanaan will be your pole-sitter for the 2021 Indianapolis 500. We’ll see. Both were very happy to be in the post-qualifying press conference, along with Colton Herta and Ed Carpenter (the fastest Chevy).


That will do it for today. Paul Dalbey and I are headed to Dawson’s and the wait is probably going to be sizeable. We probably need to get there while we can. I will be back here tomorrow morning with another post before the festivities start, and then a wrap-up on Sunday evening, when we now who did and did not make the field. It should be interesting. Thanks to everyone who followed along today.

George Phillips

10 Responses to “Saturday Qualifying Wrap-Up”

  1. “Come on man”. What did you hear about Charlie?

    • Bif Buffington (Phil Kaiser) Says:

      He didn’t hear anything, he just likes to brag and let people think he’s “in the know.” Blah, blah, blah….

      • Yeah…that’s me. That’s pretty much what I’ve always done for 12+ years. I’ve always tried to pass myself off as an IndyCar insider. That was sarcasm, by the way.

        Longtime readers here know that in the rare times I say something like that, it happened. Will that translate into Kimball not making the field? We’ll see. Go troll somewhere else, Phil.

        • Patrick Says:

          Considering all George has been through in his personal life the past year we really appreciate him continuing this blog for our enjoyment. Couldn’t blame him if he threw in the towel. It’s a shame he has to endure such disrespect.

      • Oliver W Says:

        Are you new here ? You show your ignorance of the blogger and sadly bad manners.

  2. Yannick Says:

    Thank you for the trackside coverage.

    All the best to Susan for her recovery.

  3. Oliver W Says:

    Whatever happens today I just hope we see Paratta and Top Gun back in 2022. And with the same drivers. I also hope they can find funding to enter a few more races in 2022. Same goes for Stephan Wilson. Huge cheer for Pietro Fittipaldi. Excellent result so far.

  4. Bruce B Says:

    Thanks for your coverage George! As an old schooler myself, it has taken me awhile to embrace this qualifying format. But I must say it does make for some interesting TV air time. In days gone by we would be waiting on a few runs at most. I think Will Power gets in but Team Penske has some work before Raceday.

  5. Bruce B Says:

    Hold on……hold on. After reading more blogs, tweets and articles, maybe I wasn’t even aware of the implications I was watching at the end of Saturday’s qualifying. The Kellet/Power/Simona situation is very confusing to say the least. Kellet wasn’t even sure he was in. You could hear confusion as Power was talking with his wife. Could Kellet have ran 150MPH average and got in because Simona wouldn’t have had the time to get out? This needs tweaking to say the least. So please tell me the remaing 3 fastest cars get in today???

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