Chevrolet NTT Indycar Series Indianapolis 500: Qualifying Recap-Veekay Puts Chevy on Front Row

Sunday, May 23 446
Teammates Rinus VeeKay and Ed Carpenter will lead the Chevrolet contingent into the 105th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge from the front two rows.
VeeKay, who eight days earlier earned his initial NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, qualified third in the Firestone Fast Nine Shootout with a four-lap average speed of 231.511 mph on the 2.5-mile oval.
 
Carpenter, a three-time Indy 500 pole winner, qualified fourth in the No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet with an average speed of 231.504 mph.
 
Simona De Silvestro dug deep in the Last Chance Qualifying and put her No. 16 Rocket Paretta Autosport Chevrolet in the 33rd starting position for the field of the Indianapolis 500. It will be the sixth time the Swiss born driver will start the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. After missing the lock-in on Saturday to be in the top-30, De Silvestro had to battle four additional drivers for the final three spots on the grid.
 
Sixteen entries powered by the 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct-injected Chevrolet V6 engine qualified for the 33-car field for the 200-lap race Sunday, May 30. A Chevrolet driver has qualified on the front row eight of the nine years, including six pole starts, since the Bowtie brand returned to NTT INDYCAR SERIES manufacturer competition in 2012.
 
“I’m very proud of our team, proud of Chevrolet giving us all the power we need to go fight for the pole and more importantly to fight for a win next Sunday,” said Carpenter, who is also the principal of Ed Carpenter Racing.
 
Chevrolet front-row starters since 2012
2021: Third – Rinus VeeKay
2019: First – Simon Pagenaud. Second – Ed Carpenter. Third – Spencer Pigot
2018: First – Ed Carpenter. Second – Simon Pagenaud. Third – Will Power
2017: Second – Ed Carpenter
2016: Second – Josef Newgarden
2015: First – Scott Dixon. Second – Will Power. Third – Simon Pagenaud
2014: First -- Ed Carpenter. Third – Will Power
2013: First – Ed Carpenter. Second – Carlos Munoz. Third – Marco Andretti
2012: First – Ryan Briscoe. Second – James Hinchcliffe. Third – Ryan Hunter-Reay
 
Drivers received a turbocharger boost, which equates to an increase of about 45 horsepower, for practice Friday, May 21, that carried over for the two days of qualifications. Scott Dixon, the 2020 Indy 500 winner, recorded a four-lap average speed of 231.685 mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to win the NTT P1 Award.
 
VeeKay was the highest rookie qualifier in 2020 and improved one position for 2021. He will seek to join Simon Pagenaud in 2019 and Will Power in 2018 as Chevrolet drivers to win on the IMS road course and oval in the same month.
 
“Both Ed and I have amazing cars. Chevy power has been outstanding today,” said VeeKay, 20, driver of the No. 21 Bitcoin Chevrolet. “We have a good shot at winning.”
 
Pato O’Ward, who claimed his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory May 1 on the Texas Motor Speedway oval, qualified on Row 4 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Teammate Felix Rosenqvist, driving the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, qualified 14th. Scott McLaughlin, competing in his first Indianapolis 500, qualified 17th in the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.
Pagenaud, the 2019 pole winner, qualified 26th in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 24th in the No. 86 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
 
Power persevered through a nerve-racking day of Last Chance Qualifying and drove the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet to 32nd in the starting lineup. He will be joined on the last row by Sage Karam in the No. 24 DRR-AES Indiana Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet and Simona De Silvestro, who is making her first ‘500’ appearance since 2015, in the No. 16 Rocket Pro/Paretta Autosport Chevrolet.
 
NBC will telecast the 200-lap race at 11 a.m. ET May 30. Motorsports icon Danica Patrick will drive the 2021 mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette Stingray hardtop convertible to lead the field to the green flag. The 2021 race marks the 32nd time for Chevrolet to pace dating to 1948, and the 18th time since 1978 for America’s favorite sports car.
 
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFIERS WITH AVERAGE SPEED IN MPH:
3. Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Bitcoin Ed Carpenter Racing (231.511)
4. Ed Carpenter, No. 20 SONAX Ed Carpenter Racing (231.504)
12. Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP (230.864)
14. Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP (230.744)
17. Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske (230.557)
19. Conor Daly, No. 47 U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing (230.427)
21. Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske (230.071)
22. JR Hildebrand, No. 1 ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing (229.980)
24. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 86 Arrow McLaren SP (229.891)
26. Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske (229.778)
27. Sebastien Bourdais, No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing (229.744)
29. Max Chilton, No. 59 Gallagher Carlin (229.417)
30. Dalton Kellett, No. 4 K-Line Insulators/AJ Foyt Racing (228.323)
31. Sage Karam, No. 24 DRR-AES Indiana Dreyer & Reinbold Racing (229.156)
32. Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske (228.876)
33. Simona De Silvestro, No. 16 Rocket Pro/Paretta Autosport (228.333)
Charlie Kimball, No.11 Tresiba AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet and RC Enerson, No. 75 Top Gun Racing Chevrolet did not qualify for the race.
 
DRIVER QUOTES:
RINUS VEEKAY, NO. 21 BITCOIN ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD:
“I had a big moment on the last lap, in the first corner. I never lifted, but when I think back, maybe I should have! That last lap was the sketchiest lap I’ve ever done, but I kept my foot on the gas. I wanted it to be as on the limit as possible, so I kept the power on, even with all the wiggling. I knew Turn One would be the trickiest so once I got through, I thought it would be fine. I couldn’t have gone any faster. I was happy to make the Fast Nine yesterday and we’re grateful to have Chevy power taking me to the front row! I’m very happy for the team and very grateful, for all the sleepless nights and hard work. I think we can go for the win next Sunday. I love Indy, and with the Ed Carpenter Chevy, it’s such a pleasure – apart from that last lap! I have a great car and a great team around me. That win last week has changed the spirit within the team and we were all extremely motivated. The entire month of May has been amazing.” 
 
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 SONAX ED CARPENTER RACING, QUALIFIED 4TH:
“Chevy has been a great partner; they give us so many tools and help us thrive. There’s no better partner to have. I’m happy, we were in the hunt and we have a car on the front row. Both of our cars were extremely close, and that small gap between the two cars is a testament to ECR and the quality of cars that they build. -Very proud to be seven-thousandths of a mile-an-hour between our cars is frickin’ awesome. That is all ECR. That is all our team; it is Chevy. 10 years as partners is amazing. It’s tough competition, whether it’s Honda versus Chevy or the two of us going against Scott Dixon and Colton Herta. We had all the power we needed to fight for the pole, they were just a little better than us today. There are so many great drivers in the series, it’s awesome to compete against them and we love the challenge. At the end of the day, we’re happy with where we’re starting the Indy 500. Rinus is the real deal, I’m proud of him. He’s a resilient kid, he learns and keeps getting better. He’s going to be tough to beat next Sunday, I’m as worried about him as anyone. But we’ll be in a great spot for the race, with my teammate in front of me, so we’ll tune up the car today and Carb Day and be ready for next Sunday.”
 
SAGE KARAM, NO. 24 DRR-AES INDIANA DRYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFYING 31ST: It wasn’t easy running in Sunday’s last Chance qualifying, as it was warmer than Saturday’s qualifying. But the team did a great job preparing the car for the four-lap stint. Glad we were fastest in that little round as we were two years ago. Ironically, I’ll start 31st for the third straight Indy 500. I’m really proud of the DRR Team Chevy and AES Indiana crew the way they kept working so hard to get me in the show here at Indy. As one-car, Indy-only team, DRR has to go up against two cars basically Penske-prepared for Will and Simona. And we beat them today. I think that is very cool. Now we are ready to prepare for next Sunday’s race.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFED 32ND:
 “Yeah that was very, very nerve-wracking. The run started going loose everywhere. I held onto it out of 2, hit the wall, and I took a chance by holding it wide open and hoping the rear toe wasn’t too bad. Man. That is as loose as you want to get it. I can’t thank Verizon and Chevy enough for sticking with me after all these years. I’m so stoked to get in the race. The team has put a massive amount of effort into this race. It’s a big relief more than anything to get in this race. I knew I couldn’t lift. Some nervy lifts. But yeah. This place throws everything at you. We’re in the race and it’s an amazing feeling, amazing place. It’s more nerve wracking than going for pole. Definitely I lost a bit of sleep!” 
 
SIMONA DE SILVERSTRO, NO 16 ROCKET PRO PARETTA AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 33RD: “What a day. It was definitely nerve racking being in this position. Super happy that we made it in because of everyone involved as well,  because of all the hard work that got put in, it would have been crazy to not have made it. From that point of view, we’re super relieved. Now we just focus on racing and I think we could be pretty good because our car was pretty competitive.
“For Beth as well I just wish it wouldn’t have been as crazy for the first time we were racing together. At least we got that one out of the way and now we can really focus on this going forward. It was interesting but you know I think we all stuck together and that’s what made us strong to be here today.”
 
Team Chevy PR