Competitive right from the off, Alonso has learned fast and claimed P7 in first qualifying to make it through to the top nine shoot out on Sunday.
Dixon had just wrestled his vehicle around the track at an average of more than 230 miles per hour, four times at speed past a nasty turn two that ate Indy cars all weekend long.
Even Dixon couldn't believe it.
"This is the biggest race in the world", Alonso said. "It's fast, really fast". And maybe this will be the start of a new journey for me as well.
How impressive was Dixon's run?
Few drivers had as strong a start to the season as Sebastien Bourdais, another four-time champion who has gone largely under the radar for nearly a decade. Alonso's average was 231.300 miles per hour. It paid off but left Dixon on edge as he watched rivals attack his time, some nudging the outer wall with tires in their speed quest.
"Where I come from, it happens every day", Kanaan, who is Brazilian, said. "Obviously, I wanted to start on the front row, and we gave it everything we had".
Dixon still had to weather the runs of Japan's Takuma Sato and Carpenter.
"The Indy 500 is one of the greatest events in the sport". Carpenter was looking for his third in five years. But with the first rows filled by three race winners, three 500 runner-ups and a two-time Formula One champion, picking a favorite is anybody's guess. Whatever they said helped. He has only cracked the top-5 once in this race since the 2009 win. He has raced in two Indy 500s before, the last of which was two years ago. And it wasn't even close. "Hopefully we can repeat 2008, when we won from pole". "So we're making progress", he said.
Two-time race victor Juan Pablo Montoya qualified 18th, the outside of Row 6 at 229.565. Josef Newgarden qualified 22nd at 228.501 and defending series champ and current points leader Simon Pagenaud will start 23rd after going 228.093. Marco Andretti will start eighth.
"That was insane", the 2014 Indy victor said.
"It was white knuckled the entire time", Hunter-Reay said. He is best remembered for trying to make a risky first turn pass for the lead on the final lap at the 2012 race.
After Alonso, Ed Jones will be the highest-starting rookie. Kanaan has finished fourth or better in four of his last six appearances on this track. "It's part of the mystique of this place is pushing the limits of the cars and us as drivers".
Sebastian Bourdais, driving the Geico Honda for Dale Coyne Racing, was the favorite to win the pole until his horrific crash during Saturday's qualifying.