Some quick thoughts on a wild qualifying session:
I hope the PA was playing the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive” as Josef Newgarden won the pole for tomorrow’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is to earn the maximum 54 points. He got the first one of those today. he still needs Palou to finish near the back of the field. Palou can still win the championship no matter what Newgarden does by finishing as low as 23rd. Newgarden holds the tie breaker over Palou of more second places. If Newgarden wins tomorrow the two drivers will each have three victories.
The qualifying session was appropriately unpredictable way to put a cap on an unpredictable season. There have been some dramatic qualifying days this year. Today was off the charts.
Pato O’Ward’s chances for the title are hurt a bit by his not winning the pole. He will start eighth, two spots ahead of Palou.
Where did Helio Castroneves come from? The four time Indianapolis 500 winner may have given us a preview of 2022. Castroneves held the top spot in the Fast Six until the last lap, when Newgarden and Dixon both beat his time.
If there is any consolation for Palou, it is that he hasn’t had two bad days in a row all season. The team struggled all day in practice, and they went into qualifying not knowing what they had.
Simon Pagenaud is ending his time with Team Penske on a good note. He has qualified well in the last two races.
Hats off to the crew of Will Power’s car. After his huge collision with Jack Harvey at the end of Round 1, they got the car running for Round 2.
Indycar has to review incidents and timing faster. Two rounds had unnecessary lengthy delays. It seemed to me O’Ward and Palou were the only two cars that slowed down for Power’s incident, but i agree that Palou was too far behind to advance. O’Ward, I felt, should have made the Fast Six.
I didn’t understand what Colton Herta’s strategy was, but it wasn’t the correct one. It’s puzzling what happened to him and Alexander Rossi.
If Romain Grosjean can keep his car off the walls tomorrow, he may be a factor in the race.
The starting lineup: