Pole Day preview: What to watch for

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IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe sits on pit road, awaiting a qualifying attempt at the Indy 500 (WXIN, May 21, 2016)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – James Hinchcliffe may have topped Saturday’s Fast Nine after day one of qualifying, but the Schmidt Peterson driver isn’t taking any bows just yet.

“It doesn’t mean much today,” said Hinchcliffe. “It’s bragging rights. It’s pay for the boys because it validates all the effort they put into this race car.”

Ultimately, Hinch’s top average speed of nearly 231 miles per hour only got him in position to race for the pole, which he will do alongside eight other IndyCar drivers beginning at 5:00 p.m. Sunday.

“Hopefully we can go out there and do something similar,” he added.

The format of the Fast Nine Shootout will feature the ninth-fastest car from Saturday up first followed by eight, seven, and so on until Hinchcliffe at number one. Each driver will complete one four-lap qualifying run, and the fastest average speed will start on the pole at the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, Sunday May 29.

“Hopefully (we’ll) have a shot,” said Will Power, who finished third in Saturday’s first qualifying round. “I think there’s very fast cars out there, and it will be a really good show for the fans.”

FAST NINE SHOOTOUT – POLE CONTENDERS

9 Simon Pagenaud (230.102 mph)

8 Carlos Munoz (230.173 mph)

7 Mikhail Aleshin (230.209 mph)

6 Josef Newgarden (230.229 mph)

5 Townsend Bell (230.452 mph)

4 Helio Castroneves (230.500 mph)

3 Will Power (230.736 mph)

2 Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.805 mph)

1 James Hinchcliffe (230.946 mph)