Sebastien Bourdais crashes at Indy 500 qualifying, taken away on backboard

Alonso played himself in slowly, posting the 19th fastest speed on opening day. The Spaniard will do so in a McLaren-Andretti Autosport entry powered by Honda. That pace would have been good enough for just 27th fastest Sunday.

Other noteworthy qualifying performances included Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, 231.442 mph), who paced Group 1 which determined starting positions 10-33 for Sunday's race and will start 10th; Oriol Servia (No. 16 Manitowoc Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, 230.309 mph), who was the fastest non-regular Indy auto driver other than Alonso and will start 12th; and 2016 pole sitter James Hinchcliffe (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, 229.860 mph), who struggled in his run and will start 17th.

Andretti will be attempting to make his 12th start in "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing".

"It has been a fantastic week of running", he added, "a fantastic week of different experiences, running alone, high boost, low boost; every lap feels different. Thanks to Chevrolet for giving me a good bullet and for making the best aero out here right now".

"There has been a lot of people supporting me".

While drivers can win the race while starting from anywhere in the 33-car field, Dixon said it was important for him to win the pole. "I always want to be in it".

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

"Obviously he's very accomplished", Dixon noted. "That's one of the biggest single-car qualifying crashes I've seen around here", Carpenter admitted.

Each vehicle is allowed two warm-up laps before beginning their qualifying attempt. "I'm not sure what happened".

"It's incredible for us to have a driver of his stature, still actively racing in Formula One and missing their crown jewel event to come race ours, in some ways justifies what we all say about how much the Indy 500 means to the racing world, and it certainly attracts a whole new audience".

IndyCar Grand Prix victor Will Power and three-time 500 victor Helio Castroneves have alternated the first five pole wins this season and finished one-two in practice Tuesday.

"Seriously, I don't know where that came from", he said.

"It's going to take time, but I'm feeling pretty good since the surgery".

Going into the day, Dixon figured the conditions were such he could increase his speed from Saturday, where the fastest nine drivers earned a shot at the pole on Sunday.

The New Zealander finished with a four-lap average of 232.164 miles per hour, claiming his third Indianapolis 500 pole with the best qualifying run in 21 years. Dixon's first lap of 232.595 also was the fastest since Luyendyk's record lap of 237.498 in 1996. "Now we just need to regroup and focus on doing this all again tomorrow and hopefully grabbing that pole position".

Once all of the cars that were guaranteed a qualifying time have run their four laps, it's open for anyone else to set a time (if they have not yet done so) or make a re-run if they think they can better their time from the Fast Lane.

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