Qualifying Report: Indianapolis 500
INDIANAPOLIS (May 21, 2022) -- Rain threatened to wash out qualifying for the 106th Running of the Indianapolis 500 but qualifications went off as scheduled. Track conditions changed from nearly perfect at the beginning of the session to hot and windy for those drivers at the end of the qualifying line which affected two of AJ Foyt Racing's three drivers.
J.R. Hildebrand, who went out eighth to qualify the No. 11 Homes For Our Troops Chevrolet, turned in a four lap average of 231.112 mph, which will see him start 17th.
"The conditions are substantially better today which we were happy about," Hildebrand said after his run. "You go from a day like yesterday to today and the engineers are having to make a lot of educated guesses in terms of where you're really going to be. I'm so proud of the guys for just the work that they've been doing. You know, despite the conditions, we didn't have a particularly good day yesterday just in terms of kind of figuring out where we're at. And so we made some definite gains overnight and we'll just keep plugging away at it but really proud of the work that the team has done."
Kyle Kirkwood, who went out 30th in those hot and windy conditions in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet, posted an average speed of 229.406 mph and will start 28th.
"It was a ton of fun," said the 23-year-old rookie. "We've had a handful of days leading up to this and unfortunately, we didn't get a ton of time to get our qualifying trim in perfect working order, but with what we ended up with there, I'm quite happy. We ended up being one of the last ones to qualify, which is not a very good predicament for anyone here. The track and the wind picked up so we weren't dealt the same cards that some of the guys were before, which is unfortunate, but with what we had, we did a very good job I think."
Teammate Dalton Kellett, who went out 32nd to qualify, posted an average speed of 228.916 mph in his No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet and will start 29th.
"It felt good to get our qualifying run in before the weather and all that became a factor today but not really starting where we would like to," said the 28-year-old Canadian. "Given how happy we've been with the race cars this week, we would like to have made our lives a little bit easier during the race by starting a little bit further up the grid. The plus side is that we are happy with how the car's feeling in race trim so looking forward to getting back to some race practice.
"During the run today the balance of the car overall was probably just a little bit too free. I think we were a little bit on the nose in terms of her aero settings and that just made it a little bit loose and kind of scrubbing some speed which would hurt our average speed. With the way the weather went, we didn't really get the opportunity to back it up with a second run. So, we'll have to accept that and focus ahead on the race."
Rain curtailed this afternoon's qualifying session with track activity stopping at 4 p.m. The track was officially shut down for the day due to inclement weather at 4:50 p.m.
Tomorrow afternoon twelve cars will vie for positions 1 through 12 including the pole position. Qualifying will be broadcast on NBC startig at 4 p.m. ET. Also, teams will begin changing out the engines and putting in their race engines for the 500-mile race distance.