Photo: Pato O’Ward by Matt Fraver, Indycar
So close. Will Power was so close to earning his first pole position of 2021, but Pato O’Ward nipped him at the line by 0.0067 of a second. O’Ward’s third pole of the year came at an opportune time for the driver third in the standings. Points leader Alex Palou qualified sixth and other title contenders Scott Dixon rolls off 26th and Josef Newgarden starts 20th. Dixon was penalized for spinning and affecting other drivers’ laps, and Newgarden has a six place penalty for an engine change to serve.
All three rounds of the shortened qualifying format produced drama as several drivers traded the top spot. But the star of the day was Christian Lundgaard, the Danish F2 driver in the RLL Hy Vee number 45 this weekend. Lundgaard impressed in the practice session, and he dazzled in qualifying, making it to the final round and leading the fast Twelve for a bit. He will start fourth. No matter how his race turns out, his weekend is already a success.
Colton Herta’s string of front row starts ends at four. He qualified fifth.
Romain Grosjean missed his second consecutive pole on the IMS Road course by just 27 thousandths of a second. He starts third.
.Ed Carpenter Racing had its best road course qualifying in a while. Conor Daly starts eighth and Rinus VeeKay ninth.
Newgarden and Dixon start in a part of the grid where there is usually trouble in the first turn. If they get through that, it will be interesting to see how far they advance wht strategy they use.