VeeKay on Pole, Newgarden Gains a Point on Dixon

Photo from Rinus VeeKay Twitter feed

Rinus VeeKay won the pole for Race 1 of the Harvest Grand Prix late this afternoon with a lap at the end of the session of 1:09.6903. Josef Newgarden lead Group 1 with a time of 1:10.4706 to earn the second starting spot on the grid. Newgarden did inch one point closer to Scott Dixon by leading his group.

The Dutch rookie’s first career pole is the fourth for Ed Carpenter Racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ed Carpenter has won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 three times. ECR joins Team Penske as the only two teams who have poles in both the 500 and on the road course.

Group 1 never had the chance to run on red tires. With about four minutes left in the session Takuma Sato, the first driver of the group to come in to the pits to switch to the faster rubber, spun into the sand trap at the north end of the track as the other teams were changing tires. Time ran out under the red flag.

Group 2 ran incident free. Colton Herta led most of the way. His best lap on black tires was just 0.5 seconds slower than Newgarden’s fast time. It appeared he would easily beat Newgarden when he switched to the alternate tire. But his last lap was 0.0145 seconds than VeeKay’s final run.

Pagenaud’s Qualifying Woes Continue

Simon Pagenaud, who has had difficulty in qualifying all season, will start 22nd Friday. Pagenaud has not let hislow starting position affect his racing. He has won one race after starting last. Pagenaud is 8th in the standings.

Inauspicious Start for Returning Vets

The returning veterans-Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, and Sage Karam- struggled in practice and qualifying. Bourdais starts 16th, Castroneves 19th, Hinchcliffe 18th, and Karam 21st.

The lineup: