Indycar photo by James Black
Some thoughts on a wild qualifying session:
This event should be renamed the Herta Family Invitational. Colton Herta’s pole today is the fifth for the family. His father Bryan won three straight pole from 1997-1999, and now Colton has two in a row. The elder Herta also won the race in 1998 and 1999, which almost makes the winner tomorrow a foregone conclusion. I don’t think it will be that simple, though.
Herta has three poles and five second place starts this season. His results from the front row have been mixed, and he has just one win.
It was an exciting, dramatic session to set the grid for tomorrow’s 95 lap race. The points leader just squeezed into the second round, the two cars that led the practice sessions did not advance, and off track excursions led to drivers losing positions.
It has been a long time since we have seen an all Andretti front row. Alexander Rossi moved to the front row due to Power’s penalty.
I feel bad for Scott McLaughlin, who looked to be in position to advance, but pitted when he had time for another lap. I’m sure it was a communication mixup.
Herta beat Power’s best lap by .027 seconds as time expired. Power’s lap was deleted because he did not slow for a local yellow.
Alex Palou was the fastest of the title contenders. After barely escaping Round 1, Palou made the Fast Six and he will start fourth. O’Ward was the only other driver with a chance at the title to make the Fast Six. O’Ward starts sixth after losing his fastest two laps when he spun off course. Josef Newgarden will start 17th tomorrow, his second consecutive ninth row start. Scott Dixon will start eighth.
The star of qualifying today was Oliver Askew. He took RLL’s third car to the Fast Six, led his Round 1 group, and will start between Palou and O’Ward. Today was Askew’s second career appearance in the Fast Six.
It was nice to see Simon Pagenaud have a respectable qualifying day. Pagenaud has struggled in qualifying all season. He made the second round today and will start ninth.
What happens to Newgarden’s car in qualifying? For the second week in a row, the two time champion was one of the fastest in practice, but did not make it out of Round 1.