Rookie Felix Rosenqvist/No.10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda earned his first-ever NTT IndyCar pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Frigid Friday. His fast lap was 108.2785/128.597 mph. His previous best start was third at St. Pete. This is the 90th IndyCar pole position for Chip Ganassi Racing. “We’ve been up there all day. The NTT Honda car has been amazing. The first two laps I didn’t really feel like I had a grip and the the final ap there was just something switching on and I was like ‘OK, this could be good’ Bt honestly I didn’t think it was going to be. It is so tight and I looked up at the screen and we were P1 and I just prayed it was going to hold but, yeah, fantastic day. Thanks to my team.”
Left to Right: Felix Rosenqvist; Team Owner Chip Ganassi & Team Manager Barry Wanser; and Felix Rosenqvist. Photos by Pablo Matamoros
Making it a Ganassi front row was Scott Dixon/No.9 PNC Bank Honda, who was just 0.0194 seconds behind.
Third through sixth were Jack Harvey/No.60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Meyer Shank Racing Honda; Rookie Colton Herta/No.88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda; Ed Jones/No.20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet; and the defending race winner, Will Power/No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.
Left to Right: Felix Rosenqvist-Photo by Pablo Matamoros. Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey, Colin Herta, Ed Jones and Will Power.
The Firestone Fast Six represent five different race teams. The top three Fast Six times were less than Herta’s top time in the second practice. The qualifying track record remains 1:07.7044/129.687 mph set in May 2017 by Will Power.
The weather remained overcast and cold – 53 degrees with a wind chill factor. It never warmed up all day.
The rain forecast remains a topic. IndyCar can declare the race to be a Rain Race. Also, if three cars from three different teams put on rain tires, the rest of the field may also use rain tires. They aren’t required to do so, but the rules requiring the use of Primary and Alternative tires are not in play.
Some takeaways from Friday’s qualifying session: Only one Penske Chevy driver – Power – made the cut into the Fast Six; and two didn’t make it past the first round – Josef Newgarden/No.2 Fitzgerald Team Penske and Helio Castroneves/No.3 Pennzoil Team Penske. Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Menards Team Penske starts eighth. Team Penske has dominated all five of this road course race, with Power winning three times from the pole; and Pagenaud winning twice, once from the pole. Herta was the only Andretti driver of four to make it past the first round.
Power said “I think we’ve been on the back foot all day, honestly. But man, I wasn’t even close in the final session and I was killing myself out there for position six. But that is what we’re dealing with now. It is so competitive out there and if you are a little bit out of the window, you are going to struggle. I’m not sure where we are missing it. But I can promise you we are going to go to work and figure it out” Castroneves said “Going out on reds twice was the strategy that we decided early on to see if we were going to e able to make the next ro nd. We’re not in the points or anything. We are just looking to make the Indy500, so it was a good gamble to find out what we could do. Plus, it collects information for our teammates for the setups on the reds. Unfortunately, it did not work out.” Newgarden said “I am not sure where we are missing it. But I can promise you, we are going to work and try and figure out where you can do better. And it might rain, so it could be a crapshoot either way.” Pagenaud said “This was the best lap I could have done, we just need to find a little bit more. And if it rains tomorrow, you just have to adapt. It’s the same for everyone. I enjoy driving in the rain, so we will put on a good show.”
Left to Right: Zach Veach, Marco Andretti, and Alexander Rossi. Photos by Pablo Matamoros
Zach Veach/No.26 Gainbridge Andretti Autosport Honda said “It was a confusing qualifying today. I think as a team we’re kind of struggling a bit. But we’re all back there, my teams are there, we’re sharing the back half of the grid, so we just have to figure out what’s going on for tomorrow.” Alexander Rossi/No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Andretti Autosport Honda said “We have some homework to do overnight.” Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda said “It was a strange qualifying effort today. Pair our starting position with the food poisoning I’m battling, and it’s not an afternoon to remember.” Marco Andretti/No.98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian Honda said “Really disappointing qualifying today for the team.”
Rank Car Driver Name C/E/T Time Speed Session
1….. 10. Rosenqvist, Felix. (R) D/H/F. 01:08.2785. 128.597. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
2….. 9. Dixon, Scott. D/H/F. 01:08.2979. 128.560. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
3….. 60. Harvey, Jack. D/H/F. 01:08.3238. 128.512. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
4….. 88. Herta, Colton. (R) D/H/F. 01:08.3743. 128.417. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
5….. 20. Jones, Ed. D/C/F. 01:08.4609. 128.254. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
6….. 12. Power, Will. D/C/F. 01:08.7901. 127.640. Round 3 / Firestone. Fast Six
7….. 15. Rahal, Graham. D/H/F. 01:08.2153. 128.716. Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
8….. 22. Pagenaud, Simon. D/C/F. 01:08.2445. 128.661. Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
9….. 7. Ericsson, Marcus. (R) D/H/F. 01:08.2497. 128.651. Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
10….. 18. Bourdais, Sebastien. D/H/F 01:08.2998 128.557 Elim.ination Round 2 / Top 12
11 …. 30 Sato, Takuma D/H/F 01:08.3300 128.500 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
12….. 21 Pigot, Spencer D/C/F 01:08.4697 128.238 Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
13….. 2 Newgarden, Josef D/C/F 01:08.6240 127.949 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
14 …. 19 Ferrucci, Santino (R) D/H/F 01:08.4499 128.275 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
15….. 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F 01:08.6497 127.902 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
16….. 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/F 01:08.6235 127.950 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
17….. 27 Rossi, Alexander D/H/F 01:08.6994 127.809 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
18….. 5 Hinchcliffe, James D/H/F 01:08.7710 127.676 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
19….. 31 O’Ward, Patricio (R) D/C/F 01:08.7487 127.717 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
20….. 26 Veach, Zach D/H/F 01:08.8170 127.591 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
21….. 4 Leist, Matheus D/C/F 01:08.7751 127.668 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
22….. 59 Chilton, Max D/C/F 01:08.9572 127.331 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
23….. 98 Andretti, Marco D/H/F 01:08.8995 127.438 Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
24….. 14 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F 01:09.1230 127.026 Elimination Round 1 / Group 2