Veteran Graham Rahal Fails to Qualify for Indy 500; Alex Palou Wins Pole in Record-Setting Weekend

33 drivers will take the green on Sunday in the 107th running of the Indy 500. Graham Rahal will not be one of them.

Rahal, veteran of 15 starts in the Greatest Spectacle of Racing, missed the cut by 0.007 miles per hour to teammate Jack Harvey after a frustrating week for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan, Rahal’s IndyCar team. 3 out of the 4 RLL cars were involved in Sunday’s Last Chance Shootout (part-time entry Katherine Legge qualified inside the top 30 on Saturday and locked herself into the field). Rahal appeared safe as the clock wound down for the session, but Harvey went out for one more last ditch run despite not having cooled down his engine enough to get a solid run in.

Harvey’s first laps were trending towards him missing the show, but a strong third lap put him back on track. The fourth lap was just enough; Harvey was in the race for the seventh time in his career, and Rahal was going home. 

“We had done two attempts,” Harvey said. “Neither of them seemed to be enough to get it done, and actually on the final one, I said to the guys, do you even think we can do this. The car is hot, engine is hot, and they said, yeah, you’ve got to try; it’s the Indy 500. In that moment I just tried to forget about everything else for a moment.”

Harvey is not only teammates of Rahal’s, but close friends as well. Early in the day, they discussed the possibility of one bumping the other out. Afterwards, they talked about the result.

“I said to Graham, ‘I’m sorry, I’m not sorry,” Harvey explained. “What do you say to someone in that moment? I want to be in the race. I want to be in the 107th running of the Indy 500. I want to do it for me, for my family, my friends. I want to do it for the mechanics on the team, for everybody on the team, for all of the sponsors that we have on the No. 30 car, especially for people ready this weekend. I hate what it means for the 15 car and for Graham and all his crew because at the end of the day we are one united effort, and we know there’s a lot of work ahead, but I just said to him, ‘I just wanted to do the best four laps I could. I’m sorry it’s bumped you out.”

Taking up the final row of the grid is Christian Lundgaard, also of RLL, rookie Sting Ray Robb, and Harvey. The fourth RLL car, driven by Katherine Legge, will start in 30th place.

On the opposite end of the grid, 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou won the poll after an electrifying Fast Six shootout. He beat Rinus VeeKay’s speed of 234.211 MPH by 6 thousandths of a second and grabbed the top spot with a speed of 234.217 MPH. Palou is off to a hot start in 2022 and is coming off a win at the Indy GP.

“Yeah, it’s been amazing for the 10 car, honestly,” Palou said after winning the pole. “We knew we had a fast car since the beginning. We had to take advantage of that. Yeah, enjoying my time here. Last year, as I said, we were really close, learned how we could go be more aggressive if we were in that position again, and lucky if we were in that position again today, we took it.”

Palou’s best finish in the 500 came in 2021 when he finished second to Helio Castroneves. 

Felix Rosenqvist will start third. Row 2 will have Santino Ferrucci, Pato O’Ward, and Scott Dixon. Row 3 will feature Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, and Tony Kanaan, making his final IndyCar start. 

Sunday’s 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 will start at Noon ES

Ethan Miller
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