Rick Mears is in a class by himself on the front row in the Indianapolis 500.

When the green flag is waved on May 28 for the 73rd running of the Indy race, Mears will start from the pole position for a record fifth time and from the front row a record-tying ninth time in his 12-year career.Until Sunday, when Mears smashed the one- and four-lap qualification records at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only A.J. Foyt and the late Rex Mays could match Mears' pole-position starts.

Al Unser, Mears' Penske Racing teammate, started Sunday's demolition of the Speedway records with a four-lap average of 223.471 mph, breaking Mears' year-old record of 219.198, but Mears quickly reclaimed the record, averaging 223.885, dropping Unser to second place, in the middle of the front row. Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi qualified at 222.329 for a start on the outside.