Kiwi blasts round Indy 500 track at 376 kph to set new pole speed record

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Kiwi driver Scott Dixon has smashed the Indianapolis 500 pole-winning record with a breathtaking qualifying run of more than 376 kph.

His hands were shaking when he climbed from his car following his first run on Sunday, but the New Zealander was nonplussed and went back out for an incredible final run. 

His four-lap average of 376.661 kph around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gave Dixon the fifth Indy 500 pole of his career.

He will lead the field to green next Sunday local time (Monday AEST).


“That’s what this place is about, the ups and downs that you have just in one day, it’s crazy,” Dixon said.

Scott Dixon set the second-fastest time ever to beat the qualifying record at the Indianapolis Speedway.(Getty Images: Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire)

“I think that’s kind of what we all secretly thrive on, right? To live on that edge is an amazing feeling and when you do nail it, that’s what it’s all about.

Considered the best driver of his generation, Dixon’s average broke Scott Brayton’s pole-winning record of 376.1 kph set in 1996.

Arie Luyendyk holds the overall four-lap qualifying record of 381.4 kph, also done in 1996, but not in a run for the pole. 

Dixon’s qualifying run was the second-fastest in 106 runnings of the prestigious race.


Dixon’s first lap was an eye-popping 377.3 kph and drew a roar from the fans.

His second lap was 376.8 kph, leading wife Emma to bend over the pit wall in amazement, her hands covering her mouth.

Emma Dixon holds her head and grimaces while wearing sunglasses
Emma Daves Dixon, Scott Dixon’s wife, was very animated in pit lane during his run.(Getty Images: Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire)

Dixon’s drop-off from there was minuscule: his fourth and final lap was 376.1 kph as his consistency gave Chip Ganassi Racing its seventh Indy 500 pole. 

“The first number does mean a lot, and when I saw 234 [miles per hour], it was ‘OK, this is going to be a good run,'” Dixon said.

“But you’re busy, you’re consumed. Gone on the early years of just hitting the apexes and enjoying the speed.”

Dixon also started from the pole in 2008 when he scored his only Indy 500 win, as well as in 2015, 2017 and last year.

Scott Dixon raises his hands while wearing his helmet
Scott Dixon’s teammates were not surprised by his form.(Getty Images: Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire)

Reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou said he knew he would be beaten by his teammate.

“There was not a lot of nerves, I kinda knew he was going to get it,” Palou said.

“I was super comfortable and I did everything I had.

“I think we could have put rocket fuel in our engine and, I still think, not beat Scott,” third-place qualifier Rinus VeeKay said.

“He was not just a fraction faster, he was a lot faster than everyone else.” 


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