Roger Penske ran out the clock on Michael Andretti's team, giving the Indianapolis 500 pole to Ryan Briscoe.
The Australian won it with a daring late-afternoon run and a four-lap average of 226.484 mph. Then Briscoe had to wait, watch and wonder if anyone else could beat it.
Canadian James Hinchcliffe nearly did. But after going 227.009 on a warm-up lap, the man who had the No. 1 seed in the pole shootout slowed on each succeeding lap. He led Briscoe through three laps but fell to second, the middle of Row 1, after completing his run with a final lap of 226.137. That gave Hinchcliffe a 226.481 average.
The 0.003 difference is the narrowest in 500 history.
Hinchcliffe's teammates, Americans Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti, qualified third and fourth.