"That was the most stressful qualifying I've ever lived through in my whole life," said Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Simon Pagenaud, who made three runs and ended up seventh fastest at 230.070 mph Saturday. "I hope the fans enjoyed it, because it was really nerve-racking for the drivers."
"Four laps around this joint with the car in this trim ... you really work for it," added Hinchcliffe, who returned to action Friday after missing the first five days of Indy 500 practice due to a concussion he suffered in the Grand Prix on May 10. Hinchcliffe turned in the fourth-fastest speed Saturday during his second attempt.
"Wow! Nine drivers over 230 ... that's pretty amazing!" Castroneves exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Ganassi Racing struggled for speed, with three-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon pacing the team in 15th place at 229.283 mph. Ryan Briscoe was 17th, Charlie Kimball 19th and defending Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan 23rd.
"We're a mile and a half off right now, and we are more trimmed out than a lot of the cars out there, with the exception to the Penskes," Dixon observed. "I think fundamentally we are missing something right now.
"The unfortunate part is you work probably six months of the year trying to find the combinations that you want to run, what we think will get the best speed out of it," he added. "We have to try and reinvent the wheel, and, hopefully, that will help us find some speed."
No additional entries materialized Saturday evening in the hour-long eligibility window to declare the intent to try to qualify on Sunday, so there will not be a special session to determine positions 31-33 on the back row of the grid. Positions 10-33 will be set in a session starting at 10:15 a.m. ET, with the Fast Nine pole shootout scheduled for 2 p.m.
ABC's live coverage of Pole Day will begin at 1 p.m. ET.