The pole the Expel 375 came down to two drivers going for their second career pole. Scott Mclaughlin, who won the pole at St. Pete last month, had a target set by Felix Rosenqvist, who is fighting to keep his seat in the AMSP Chevy. Rosenqvist prevailed by 14 thousandths of a second.
Rosenqvist was the eleventh qualifier. He set the mark of 221.110 mph. Several drivers came close. Takuma Sato’s first lap was faster, but he slowed enough on his second circuit to end up second. He stayed there until McLaughlin’s run.
“It couldn’t be a better time to win the pole,” said Rosenqvist, who is rumored to be on the hot seat in the number 7 McLaren entry.
“I’m confident we have a good package for the race,” he added.
Rosenqvist thinks winning the pole is just the beginning of a great weekend for the Arrow McLaren SP crew.
“:I think we’re gonna be even stronger in the race. I mean, I can’t promise that but we have every reason to think that we have a good package overall. And I think this strength in our car air is very, you know, confidence inspiring. It never really feels edgy, and it’s just really good setup. So yeah, we’re happy going into the race.
“I remember the first time I came here, then then it was definitely not fun. I was really scared. First time I was here, and it was actually the first superspeedway I ever did. But yeah, I think from 2020 onwards, it’s been a track where I feel really calm and confident that I kind of know how to attack the race. And how to work with a driving line and how the car needs to be set up and I think it suits me pretty well. Naturally, and yeah, I definitely feel like it’s an unfinished business that motivates us.”
Rosenqvist won his first pole in 2019 on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
McLaughlin will start on the front row for the second consecutive race.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s three cars will start 24th, 25th, and 27th tomorrow. Graham Rahal finished mid pack in the morning practice but had the slowest qualifying time. Jack Harvey was slow in practice as well. Christian Lundgaard was 17th this morning.
If you want to pick a dark horse to win Sunday, go with Takuma Sato. Sato is off to a good start this season with a 10th at St. Pete. He rolls off third tomorrow.
Will Power had another strong qualifying today. He could win from fourth.
Simon Pagenaud led the morning practice but only qualified 15th. Teammate helio Castroneves will start 6th.
Andretti Autosport- Colton Herta is the only Andretti driver ibn the top ten. Alexander Rossi was 12th, Romain Grosjean was 13th, and Devlin DeFrancesco will be 17th on the grid for the race.
Rinus VeeKay once again carried the day for Ed Carpenter Racing, qualifying eighth. VeeKay has qualified in the top ten for both of the 2022 races. After his bicycle accident mid -season last year, VeeKay had a significant drop off in results. The first two race weekends of 2022 have seen him regain his form from early 2021.
Next up at 4 PM Central time is the rubber in session, followed at 4:30 by a one hour final practice where the cars will be set up in race trim. We will see what the drivers learn from that session.