INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan and rookie Matheus “Matt” Leist claimed their own “front row” spots when they qualified 10th and 11th for the Indianapolis 500. James Davison exceeded his expectations when he qualified 19th in the No. 33 Jonathan Byrd’s 502 East Chevrolet.
The ABC Supply Chevrolets were the fastest of the 24 cars that set the grid from positions 10 through 33. The first three rows or Fast 9 were set in a separate qualifying segment with Ed Carpenter earning his third Verizon IndyCar Series P-1 award here with a speed of 229.618 mph. Simon Pagenaud and Will Power complete the front row.
Leist, who was 12th fastest Saturday in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, qualified at 4:20 p.m. Sunday. His four laps ranged from 227.680mph to 227.305mph, and his four-lap average speed of 227.517mph set fast time of the session with two cars left.
Unfortunately for Leist, one of them was his teammate who had been fast all month.
Kanaan posted a faster first lap (227.745mph) and a faster last lap (227.680) than Leist to put Kanaan’s 227.644mph average at the top of the speed chart. The two ABC Supply Chevrolets will start on the inside and middle of the fourth row.
“It was a great day for us, a great team effort,” said the Brazilian veteran, who will be making his 17th Indy 500 start and 349th IndyCar start on Memorial Day weekend. “We missed the Fast 9 by just a little Saturday but that’s the way it is. Having A.J. tell me all the examples he’s been through made me calm down last night. Awesome effort--that’s what we had to do. Tenth and eleventh was the best we could do and that’s what we did.
“I have to thank A.J. and Larry because they bought two brand new cars for me and Matheus. Matheus is fastest rookie. His success is obviously really rewarding to me, I’m working really close with him. Like I’ve said before, I better step up my game because he is coming fast. The more he learns, the more he is going to beat me so I’ve got to keep an eye on him.”