Scott Dixon qualifies 11th for Indianapolis 500

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:23 19/05/2014
Scott Dixon
USA Today Sports
MID-PACK: Scott Dixon has qualified 11th for the Indy 500.

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New Zealand driver Scott Dixon will start from the middle of the fourth row in next Monday's Indianapolis 500 after a tough two days of qualifying.

Dixon, the 2008 champion, ended the 11th-fastest qualifier and admitted he "has some work to do" this week.

Today Dixon wasn't able to work his way into the top nine who had an extra opportunity to push for pole position.

Local driver Ed Carpenter claimed pole for the second year in a row.

In the fast-nine shootout Carpenter recorded a four-lap average of 371.866kmh over the 4.02-kilometre oval circuit.

Dixon was 0.938 seconds down on Carpenter and averaged . 371.643kmh

Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Tony Kanaan, the defending champion, was 16th-fastest and will start in the sixth row.

Dixon's effort represented the second-fastest, four-lap qualifying run of non-shootout cars which was some compensation for a tough weekend where the three-time IndyCar series champion admitted his team had struggled, particularly yesterday.

"We didn't do a good job," Dixon told USA Today.

"We have some work to do. I think in a way it's been a good thing. It's opened our eyes. We're not just unbeatable. We're not always going to be there without putting in the hard work."

Dixon's team manager Mike Hull was even stronger with his summation of the weekend.

"We're a big team and we should be better than what we showed [on Saturday]," Hull said.

"There's no excuse for what we did [on Saturday]. What we're guilty of is working on the race maybe too much and qualifying not enough. And sometimes it shows. We took the time that we had available to us this week between the race showers to work on the race."

The difference in time between Carpenter and the last-qualifier Buddy Lazier of 2.1509 seconds represents the closest field by time in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It has been a brutal week for the 33 drivers who have completed almost 8500 laps.

Now they get into fine-tuning for race that starts early next Monday morning (NZ time).

The teams have practice opportunities on the track tomorrow and Saturday.

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