Meyer Shank Racing Qualifies Pair for Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis, Ind. (21 May 2023) – Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) drivers Helio Castroneves (No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda) cemented their positions in the field for next Sunday’s 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500 through four-lap qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Castroneves used a strong mid-afternoon run to claim the 20th position for Sunday’s Memorial Day Classic, with his four-lap average of 231.954 mph putting the Brazilian in the middle of row seven at the start of his 23rd Indianapolis 500.

Pagenaud also used a second qualifying run to improve his time, posting a four-lap average speed of 231.878 mph to claim the inside position of row eight for the 200-lap battle at the historic 2.5-mile oval on May 28.

The MSR duo started its day early on Saturday as low-number lottery spots put both Castroneves and Pagenaud on track in the opening hours of Saturday’s qualifying. Usually a coveted time slot, early runs yielded slower times among much of the 34-car field, encouraging most teams to make follow-up qualifying runs as temperatures climbed later in the afternoon.

Castroneves, who is chasing history by becoming the only driver to win five Indianapolis 500 crowns, gained more than 1.5 mph on his second run, vaulting him into the 20th spot on the grid. Pagenaud was also faster during his second run, but the result didn’t effect his 22nd starting position. Both Castroneves and Pagenaud did begin one final qualifying attempt in the last hour of the session, but did not complete the run as the times didn’t promise any improvement.

The MSR drivers will have two final practice sessions next week on Monday and Friday as they prepare for Sunday’s 200-lap Indianapolis 500. Fans can follow the practices on Peacock. Sunday’s race will air on NBC on Sunday starting at 11am ET. SiriusXM will also host live IndyCar Radio coverage on XM Ch. 160.

Meyer Shank Racing Driver Quotes:

Helio Castroneves:
“It wasn’t really a strong day for us, but we feel that we are strong for the race. We were very consistent over each run, but the speed just wasn’t there and sometimes that’s just the way it goes. The MSR team and crew have been working really hard and I know we will come back for the race and be strong – it’s going to be a fun one.”

Simon Pagenaud:
“What a thrilling day it is every year, it’s incredible. Going 243 mph and turning into Turn 1 is always such a special thing. I must say, I had a great car. We had the least tire degradation over the four laps, but unfortunately we just don’t have the speed to create a big average lap time. First lap and last lap are very similar for us which is a very good sign of an amazing race car, but it’s just not allowing us to get into the Fast 12. It’s a very tight field and I know we have a great race car which gives me a lot of hope. I look forward to getting back into race trim and come back in good form for the race.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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