Barber IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi to pole

Pato O’Ward landed his second IndyCar pole for the Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet team, beating Alexander Rossi by less than 0.1sec to claim top spot for tomorrow’s Honda Indy GP of Alabama.

Barber IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi to pole

The Mexican youngster embarking on only his second full season in the NTT IndyCar Series, lapped the beautiful 2.38-mile course in Alabama in a record-breaking 65.8479sec to edge Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport-Honda by just 0.0698sec.

Third fastest went to series sophomore Alex Palou in his first qualifying run for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda, while four-time Barber polesitter Will Power was top Team Penske driver in fourth.

Six-time and reigning champion Scott Dixon, who is seeking his first Barber win, will line up fifth, alongside teammate Marcus Ericsson, making it three Ganassi cars in the first three rows.

High-profile rookies Romain Grosjean, Scott McLaughlin and Jimmie Johnson will line up seventh, 12th and 22nd respectively (see below).

Firestone Fast Six

Pos.

No.

Name

Time

Diff

Speed

Engine

Team

1

5

Pato O'Ward

1:05.8479

1:05.8479

125.744

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

2

27

Alexander Rossi

1:05.9177

0.0698

125.611

Honda

Andretti Autosport

3

10

Alex Palou

1:06.0538

0.2059

125.352

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

4

12

Will Power

1:06.1186

0.2707

125.230

Chevy

Team Penske

5

9

Scott Dixon

1:06.3976

0.5497

124.703

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:06.4102

0.5623

124.680

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

Q2

All 12 drivers started the session on primaries, with Herta taking top spot on the blacks with a 66.4sec lap, a hair ahead of O’Ward and Dixon.

Ex-F1 star Romain Grosjean of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda laid down a 65.7643sec, but was quickly pushed aside by O’Ward with a 65.5. Palou went faster still, but O’Ward’s next lap bumped him down, while a late effort from Power saw the 2014 champ jump to P2.

Ericsson and Dixon underlined just how strong the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda package is with 4-5-6, but Power’s late flyer prevented the still impressive Grosjean from making it into the Firestone Fast Six shootout.

Also locked out of the final session were three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta (Andretti), Conor Daly (Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy), Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing and Grosjean’s fellow debutant, Scott McLaughlin of Team Penske-Chevrolet. McLaughlin was at a disadvantage anyway, having used both his sets of fresh reds in Q1 (see below).

Pos.

No.

Name

Time

Diff

Speed

Engine

Team

1

5

Pato O'Ward

1:05.5019

1:05.5019

126.409

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

2

12

Will Power

1:05.5226

0.0207

126.369

Chevy

Team Penske

3

10

Alex Palou

1:05.6328

0.1309

126.156

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

4

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:05.6614

0.1595

126.101

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

5

9

Scott Dixon

1:05.6863

0.1844

126.054

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

27

Alexander Rossi

1:05.6953

0.1934

126.036

Honda

Andretti Autosport

7

51

Romain Grosjean

1:05.7643

0.2624

125.904

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing

8

2

Josef Newgarden

1:05.7902

0.2883

125.855

Chevy

Team Penske

9

26

Colton Herta

1:05.7957

0.2938

125.844

Honda

Andretti Autosport

10

20

Conor Daly

1:05.9118

0.4099

125.622

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

11

60

Jack Harvey

1:05.9634

0.4615

125.524

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

12

3

Scott McLaughlin

1:06.7226

1.2207

124.096

Chevy

Team Penske

Q1 Group 2

The second Q1 session was first disrupted by James Hinchcliffe understeering off the track into the tire wall at Turn 5, bringing out the red flag. That pause sent everyone to the pits to take on Firestone alternates.

Both Romain Grosjean of Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda and Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet quickly got down to 66.0sec, O’Ward saving a huge moment at the top of the crest between Turns 13 and 14.

However, his teammate Felix Rosenqvist dropped it at the final turn and got his best time deleted.

Thus O’Ward, Grosjean, Conor Daly of ECR-Chevrolet, Alexander Rossi (FP2 pacesetter for Andretti Autosport-Honda), Scott Dixon (Ganassi) and Colton Herta (Andretti) got through to Q2.

Pos.

No.

Name

Time

Diff

Speed

Engine

Team

1

5

Pato O'Ward

1:06.0696

1:06.0696

125.322

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

2

51

Romain Grosjean

1:06.0709

0.0013

125.320

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing

3

20

Conor Daly

1:06.1033

0.0337

125.258

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

4

27

Alexander Rossi

1:06.2344

0.1648

125.011

Honda

Andretti Autosport

5

9

Scott Dixon

1:06.3775

0.3079

124.741

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

26

Colton Herta

1:06.4282

0.3586

124.646

Honda

Andretti Autosport

7

21

Rinus VeeKay

1:06.4770

0.4074

124.554

Chevy

Ed Carpenter Racing

8

14

Sebastien Bourdais

1:06.5035

0.4339

124.505

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

9

15

Graham Rahal

1:06.8489

0.7793

123.861

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

10

59

Max Chilton

1:07.0021

0.9325

123.578

Chevy

Carlin

11

7

Felix Rosenqvist

1:07.0254

0.9558

123.535

Chevy

Arrow McLaren SP

12

29

James Hinchcliffe

11:16.723

610.6538

12.235

Honda

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

Q1 Group 1

Rookies McLaughlin and Jimmie Johnson (Ganassi), along with Dalton Kellett (AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy) and Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda), went out on Firestone’s softer alternate straight away, and McLaughlin was first to duck under the 67sec mark with a 66.7183sec. But it didn’t take long for the remainder to dive into the pits to grab their reds. Ericsson then hit the front until usurped by Ganassi teammate Palou who cut into the 65s with a 65.9032sec.

Power almost matched him with a 65.9191, while teammates Josef Newgarden and McLaughlin also made it through along with Ericsson, and Harvey. McLaughlin’s manual starter failed when he stopped for a second set of reds, so the neighboring crew of Ed Carpenter Racing lent Penske a starter to get him fired up

Among those failing to make it through were three previous Barber winners – Simon Pagenaud (Penske), Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti) and Sato.

Johnson was 1.8sec off the pace but managed to outqualify Kellett.

Pos.

No.

Name

Time

Diff

Speed

Engine

Team

1

10

Alex Palou

1:05.9032

1:05.9032

125.639

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

12

Will Power

1:05.9191

0.0159

125.609

Chevy

Team Penske

3

2

Josef Newgarden

1:06.3881

0.4849

124.721

Chevy

Team Penske

4

3

Scott McLaughlin

1:06.4552

0.5520

124.595

Chevy

Team Penske

5

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:06.4992

0.5960

124.513

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

6

60

Jack Harvey

1:06.5234

0.6202

124.467

Honda

Meyer Shank Racing

7

18

Ed Jones

1:06.5578

0.6546

124.403

Honda

Dale Coyne Racing

8

22

Simon Pagenaud

1:06.6480

0.7448

124.235

Chevy

Team Penske

9

28

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:06.8512

0.9480

123.857

Honda

Andretti Autosport

10

30

Takuma Sato

1:07.1026

1.1994

123.393

Honda

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

11

48

Jimmie Johnson

1:07.7092

1.8060

122.288

Honda

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

4

Dalton Kellett

1:07.8100

1.9068

122.106

Chevy

AJ Foyt Enterprises

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