May 18, 2013, 6:17 PM EDT
The final battle for the Indianapolis 500 pole will be an all-Chevrolet affair.
The “Bowtie Brigade” has taken charge of Pole Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with all five Andretti Autosport drivers (Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, E.J. Viso, Ryan Hunter-Reay), all three Team Penske drivers (Will Power, Helio Castroneves and A.J. Allmendinger), and owner/driver Ed Carpenter set to go for the pole at 6:30 p.m. ET. Those drivers will only get one qualifying attempt each in the Fast Nine showdown.
The fastest Honda belonged to Alex Tagliani of Barracuda-BHA, who will start 11th on Race Day in the middle of Row 4.
Will Power’s (pictured) average of 228.844 miles per hour was more than enough to claim the top spot before the Fast Nine, with Hunter-Reay’s speed of 228.282 good for second and Munoz’s speed of 228.171 good for third in that period.
The final hour of qualifying saw some dramatic bumping as drivers aimed to lock themselves into the Top 24. In the end, the big heroes were NBC Sports Network’s own Townsend Bell for Panther Racing and James Jakes of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, who both made the show in the final 10 minutes on their third and last attempts of the day.
Bell qualified 20th on his first attempt, but that was scratched in a bid to better his position. Unfortunately for him, the second attempt was slow enough to take him out of the field. But with 8:45 to go, Bell took the green flag on his third attempt and recovered the speed, posting a average of 225.643 mph — and knocking out Jakes and putting Josef Newgarden on the bubble.
The proverbial ball was then in Jakes’ court, and the British driver took the green for his final attempt with less than four minutes to go. Jakes, whose first attempt was disqualified, put together a solid run of 225.809 mph across his four laps to knock out Newgarden, who could only watch as he was in the qualifying line behind multiple cars.
Also making the field late was Ryan Briscoe, who won the Indy pole last year with Team Penske but had to scrap to make the Top 24 today with Chip Ganassi Racing. Still, Briscoe made it in with an average of 225.265 mph on his final attempt.
Michel Jourdain Jr. was the final qualifier at the 6 p.m. end time, but was not fast enough to get into the field, allowing Simona de Silvestro to stay at the 24th position.
Pole Day Results (6 p.m. ET — Top 24)
1. 12-Will Power, 228.844 mph
2. 1-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 228.282
3. 26-Carlos Munoz, 228.171
4. 3- Helio Castroneves, 227.975
5. 20-Ed Carpenter, 227.952
6. 25-Marco Andretti, 227.893
7. 2-A.J. Allmendinger, 227.761
8. 5-E.J. Viso, 227.612
9. 27-James Hinchcliffe, 227.493
10. 4-J.R. Hildebrand, 227.441
11. 98-Alex Tagliani, 227.386
12. 11-Tony Kanaan, 226.949
13. 22-Oriol Servia, 226.814
14. 19-Justin Wilson, 226.370
15. 7-Sebastien Bourdais, 226.196
16. 9-Scott Dixon, 226.158
17. 10-Dario Franchitti, 226.069
18. 14-Takuma Sato, 225.892
19. 83-Charlie Kimball, 225.880
20. 16-James Jakes, 225.809
21. 77-Simon Pagenaud, 225.674
22. 60-Townsend Bell, 225.643
23. 8-Ryan Briscoe, 225.265
24. 78-Simona de Silvestro, 225.226