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.
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
|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.|