"I think we gave up a little bit, definitely in the chicanes, and I think it's probably going to change again overnight," said Dixon. "It seemed to be a lot of risk to take and possibly break the car and take yourself out of Q1 and Q2 and not transferring. So, tomorrow's a new day."
His Ganassi team mate Dario Franchitti will he starting immediately behind him, but in third place for the second consecutive week will be Sebastien Bourdais, although the Frenchman was too busy aching to savour the achievement.
"I wish I wasn't bouncing so much, It would hurt less," he said, still suffering from the after effects of his crash with Josef Newgarden at Sonoma. "It was a pretty bad accident, and I got a very big hit inside the car. I'm physically pretty hurt right now so I don't know that will affect tomorrow. Hats off to the boys for giving me a great car and hopefully we can put it together for tomorrow."
Newgarden himself is absent this week after suffering a serious fracture to his finger in the accident. His place in the Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car is being taken by CART/Champ Car World Series veteran Bruno Junqueira who did impressively well to graduate from round 1 in qualifying despite this being his first weekend in the new DW12 chassis with the new-specification engines since he last competed in the series. He also lost most of his orientation time on Friday because of the problems with the bumps on the frontstretch before the chicane was reintroduced overnight.
"This weekend has been a big challenge because it's been several years since I've driven a single-seater Indy car," said the Brazilian. "In the first practice session I only got two laps because of the bumps on the track. In the second session I only got half an hour and the third session I finally got some laps in. So I had less time than I thought I would to get used to the car this weekend."
Even so, he qualified the car in tenth place - although an engine penalty held over from Newgarden's tenure in the #67 means he'll drop down to 20th on the grid.
"I managed to push hard in the first two laps of qualifying and ended up tenth. Who would have thought that we'd be in tenth?" he said. "It's a shame that we have to incur a 10 spot grid penalty tomorrow for the race. But I'm really happy with the whole Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team, they've given me a great car for my first race back."
Junqueira has further cause to celebrate in Baltimore, as he was also competing in the American Le Mans Series race at the same venue on Saturday afternoon - and would be starting from pole position.
It was a tough day at the office for several of the other series regulars, however, who found the new chicane especially difficult to cope with at speed and had accidents similar to those that afflicted Mike Conway at the very end of qualifying.
JR Hildebrand had damaged his Panther so badly with a crash into the wall there that he was unable to take part in the session at all, while Graham Rahal, Justin Wilson and Simon Pagenaud all had heavy contact during their qualifying laps.