Pato Pips Power to Spiked Coolers GP Pole, Lundgaard Shines in Qualifying Debut

Patricio O’Ward claimed his third pole of the season for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix, beating the qualifying master of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course Will Power to the top spot by 0.0067 seconds. This weekend IndyCar utilized the modified two-stage elimination qualifying last seen at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, and O’Ward was one of the last drivers in the fast twelve to complete their lap, pushing his Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet to the limit to take the pole.

Power sat atop the first qualifying group in a relatively quiet session, followed by Jack Harvey who is always fast at IMS. Despite an off-track excursion on the exit of turn ten, Rinus Veekay made it through to the fast twelve along with his Ed Carpenter Racing teammate Conor Daly.

Helio Castroneves and Scott McLaughlin were some of the big names among the drivers eliminated, along with rookie Cody Ware and RC Enerson of Top Gun Racing who are making their series debut on a road course this weekend.

The fireworks came out in the second group, as Alexander Rossi went the fastest. Following him was Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rookie Christian Lundgaard, who finished seventh in the afternoon practice session, and finished second in this group. Romain Grosjean continued to show pace at the track he won the pole position at in May, advancing in fourth place.

Jimmie Johnson showed his best pace all year in this session, frequently finding himself in the top six at a track he finally has been to in an IndyCar before. Unfortunately for the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion he did not advance, but he was not alone as Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon failed to advance.

At the very end of the session, Dixon lost control and span on the straightaway between turns 10 and 11, just before the timing line. Not only did he lose that lap time, he lost his then-best time for bringing out a local yellow flag. Currently sitting second in the championship, Dixon will have his work cut out for him in the race as he starts twenty-sixth. Josef Newgarden also failed to advance, and will serve a six position grid penalty for an unapproved engine change following the Music City Grand Prix. He will start twentieth.

Christian Lundgaard. (Photo Credit: Travis Hinkle / Courtesy of IndyCar)

Lundgaard impressed once again in the fast twelve, trading fastest laps with Grosjean for the pole position. Alex Palou had some time at the top as drivers began to put on the alternate red-wall tyres and set faster lap times, but Lungaard and Grosjean lept over them again before being pushed down the order by O’Ward and Power. In the end, Lungaard will start his first IndyCar race from fourth, alongside Grosjean in third.

Andretti Autosport‘s Colton Herta was consistent in qualifying, and overcame practice issues to qualify fifth. Alongside him will be championship leader Palou, who was fastest in practice, in sixth.

Harvey qualified seventh for Meyer Shank Racing at his best track, and will be alongside Daly who impressed with another top ten starting position like he had for the GMR Grand Prix. Hopefully for the American, he will be able to make it past turn one without incident.

The winner of the GMR Grand Prix Veekay will look to repeat starting from ninth place, two places lower than where he started for his victory in May, and will be joined on the fifth row by Rossi who starts tenth.

Rounding out the fast twelve was Music City Grand Prix winner Marcus Ericsson, who qualified in eleventh place, and Simon Pagenaud who qualified twelfth.

The Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix takes place tomorrow at 1300 EST / 1800 BST.

Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix Qualifying Results

RANK CAR NO. DRIVER NAT. TEAM TIME
1 5 Pato O’Ward MEX Arrow McLaren SP 01:10.714 sec.
2 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske 01:10.721 sec.
3 51 Romain Grosjean (R) FRA Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing 01:10.741 sec.
4 45 Christian Lundgaard (R) DEN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:10.743 sec.
5 26 Colton Herta USA Andretti Autosport 01:10.763 sec.
6 10 Alex Palou ESP Chip Ganassi Racing 01:10.829 sec.
7 60 Jack Harvey GBR Meyer Shank Racing 01:10.887 sec.
8 20 Conor Daly USA Ed Carpenter Racing 01:10.953 sec.
9 21 Rinus VeeKay NED Ed Carpenter Racing 01:11.020 sec.
10 27 Alexander Rossi USA Andretti Autosport 01:11.024 sec.
11 8 Marcus Ericsson SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 01:11.034 sec.
12 22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Team Penske 01:11.134 sec.
13 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 01:11.508 sec.
14 14 Sebastien Bourdais FRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:11.550 sec.
15 30 Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:11.417 sec.
16 15 Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:11.558 sec.
17 18 Ed Jones UAE Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan 01:11.436 sec.
18 59 Max Chilton GBR Carlin 01:11.573 sec.
19 7 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Arrow McLaren SP 01:11.534 sec.
20 2 Josef Newgarden USA Team Penske 01:11.362 sec.*
21 3 Scott McLaughlin (R) NZL Team Penske 01:11.667 sec.
22 48 Jimmie Johnson (R) USA Chip Ganassi Racing 01:11.862 sec.
23 06 Helio Castroneves BRA Meyer Shank Racing 01:11.731 sec.
24 29 James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 01:12.081 sec.
25 75 RC Enerson USA Top Gun Racing 01:12.334 sec.
26 9 Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 01:12.266 sec.
27 52 Cody Ware USA Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing 01:13.757 sec.
28 4 Dalton Kellett CAN A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:12.549 sec.
(R) = Rookie, * = Six Place Grid Penaly for Engine Change

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