IndyCar GP Indy: Rookie Romain Grosjean takes first pole!

Ex-F1 driver Romain Grosjean has landed pole position for only his third NTT IndyCar Series start, the Dale Coyne Racing with RWR driver beating Josef Newgarden by over a tenth of a second.

Firestone Fast Six

Grosjean was the first driver to lay down a flyer, snagging a 69.7636sec which Alex Palou’s first flyer couldn’t match, but Josef Newgarden did beat with a 69.5665sec.

Then Grosjean ducked under that best, beating Newgarden by 0.1269sec, with Jack Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing-Honda finishing up third, just ahead of Palou’s Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.

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It was Grosjean’s first pole since he raced in GP2 in 2011, Coyne’s first pole since Sebastien Bourdais’s P1 effort at Phoenix in 2018, and the team’s first road/street course pole since Mike Conway at Detroit in 2013.

Scott McLaughlin was barely less impressive than fellow rookie Grosjean, finishing the session just 0.15sec behind Newgarden, and just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet’s Conor Daly.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Romain Grosjean

1:09.4396

1:09.4396

0.000

2

3

126.447

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

2

Josef Newgarden

1:09.5665

0.1269

0.1269

2

3

126.216

Chevy

A

Team Penske

3

Jack Harvey

1:09.6528

0.2132

0.0863

2

2

126.060

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

4

Alex Palou

1:09.7118

0.2722

0.0590

2

3

125.953

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

5

Scott McLaughlin

1:09.7140

0.2744

0.0022

2

2

125.949

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Conor Daly

1:09.8662

0.4266

0.1522

2

2

125.675

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

 

Q2

Will Power lost his two best times for causing a red flag after spinning on his primary tires and having a clutch issue that prevented him from restarting. That delay forced everyone else to go straight to reds for a frantic four minutes.

Alex Palou, who scored his first win in the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park, topped the session with a 69.4743sec, just ahead of Jack Harvey, while Romain Grosjean made it into the Firestone Fast Six with third fastest. Conor Daly did a superb job for Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy to claim fourth, ahead of the second rookie in the Fast Six, Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, and his teammate Josef Newgarden.

Rinus VeeKay in the second Carpenter car and Colton Herta – the fastest Andretti Autosport-Honda driver – was eighth.

Ed Jones made it two Coyne cars in the top eight, outpacing Simon Pagenaud (Penske) and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda).

P

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Alex Palou

1:09.4743

1:09.4743

0.000

5

6

126.383

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Jack Harvey

1:09.5189

0.0446

0.0446

5

5

126.302

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

3

Romain Grosjean

1:09.5476

0.0733

0.0287

5

6

126.250

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

4

Conor Daly

1:09.5627

0.0884

0.0151

3

5

126.223

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

5

Scott McLaughlin

1:09.7727

0.2984

0.2100

5

6

125.843

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Josef Newgarden

1:09.7837

0.3094

0.0110

5

6

125.823

Chevy

A

Team Penske

7

Rinus VeeKay

1:09.8185

0.3442

0.0348

5

5

125.760

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

8

Colton Herta

1:09.8222

0.3479

0.0037

5

5

125.754

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

9

Ed Jones

1:09.8548

0.3805

0.0326

4

4

125.695

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

10

Simon Pagenaud

1:09.8722

0.3979

0.0174

4

5

125.664

Chevy

A

Team Penske

11

Graham Rahal

1:09.9060

0.4317

0.0338

5

5

125.603

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

12

Will Power

No Time

---

---

--

1

---

Chevy

P

Team Penske

 

Q1 Group 2

Josef Newgarden got down to a 70.6385sec lap on blacks before the field dived for the pits to switch to reds – or in Juan Pablo Montoya’s case, a second set of reds having started the session on the softer compound Firestones.

Rookie Romain Grosjean was the first driver into the 69s with a 69.8963 and that was enough to see him advance to Q2, albeit in fifth, as Newgarden led the session with a 69.6101sec, ahead of Alex Palou in the Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.

Rookie Scott McLaughlin’s 69.7537sec saw him finish the session third ahead of Conor Daly’s Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy. Just behind Grosjean was Will Power who blew Turn 1 on what should have been his best lap, but still managed to scrape through. Alexander Rossi, who had looked strong in practice, was only seventh but ahead of Scott Dixon (Ganassi) who missed red tire running FP2 and Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy.

Montoya lost his two best laps for holding up Palou.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Josef Newgarden

1:09.6101

1:09.6101

6

7

126.137

Chevy

A

Team Penske

2

Alex Palou

1:09.6589

0.0488

6

7

126.049

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

3

Scott McLaughlin

1:09.7537

0.1436

6

7

125.877

Chevy

A

Team Penske

4

Conor Daly

1:09.7646

0.1545

6

7

125.858

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

5

Romain Grosjean

1:09.8556

0.2455

5

6

125.694

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

6

Will Power

1:09.8963

0.2862

6

7

125.620

Chevy

A

Team Penske

7

Alexander Rossi

1:09.9012

0.2911

7

7

125.612

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

8

Scott Dixon

1:09.9512

0.3411

7

7

125.522

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

Pato O'Ward

1:10.0726

0.4625

6

6

125.304

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

10

Sebastien Bourdais

1:10.1830

0.5729

6

7

125.107

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

11

James Hinchcliffe

1:10.6174

1.0073

5

6

124.338

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

12

Juan Pablo Montoya

1:10.8705

1.2604

6

6

123.894

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

13

Dalton Kellett

1:10.9312

1.3211

6

7

123.788

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

Q1 Group 1

Jack Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing-Honda was fastest on the Firestone primary tires, with a 70.7971sec lap, but that was some 1sec off his potential on reds. He made it through but in fourth, behind Rinus VeeKay’s 69.4890sec, a tenth ahead of Colton Herta in the Andretti Autosport-Honda and surprise star Ed Jones in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan-Honda.

Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud survived late efforts from the Swedes Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson who missed out by hundredths of a second.

Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s rookie Jimmie Johnson was an impressive 1.55sec adrift despite a trip down the Turn 1 escape road on his second set of reds, when he believed the soft compound were at their peak.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

Gap

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Rinus VeeKay

1:09.4890

1:09.4890

0.000

6

6

126.357

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

2

Colton Herta

1:09.5867

0.0977

0.0977

6

6

126.179

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

3

Ed Jones

1:09.7152

0.2262

0.1285

6

6

125.947

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

4

Jack Harvey

1:09.7589

0.2699

0.0437

5

6

125.868

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

5

Graham Rahal

1:09.7918

0.3028

0.0329

6

6

125.808

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

6

Simon Pagenaud

1:09.8061

0.3171

0.0143

6

6

125.783

Chevy

A

Team Penske

7

Felix Rosenqvist

1:09.8243

0.3353

0.0182

5

6

125.750

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:09.8382

0.3492

0.0139

7

7

125.725

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

Takuma Sato

1:09.8665

0.3775

0.0283

7

7

125.674

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

10

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:09.8759

0.3869

0.0094

7

7

125.657

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

11

Charlie Kimball

1:10.6810

1.1920

0.8051

6

6

124.226

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

12

Jimmie Johnson

1:11.0455

1.5565

0.3645

6

6

123.588

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

 

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