Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Herta takes sixth pole of season
Andretti Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta set a quick lap of 71.102 seconds late in the half-hour session, and it withstood a last minute flyer by Race 1 polesitter from Belardi Auto Racing’s Santiago Urrutia.
With his series leading sixth pole of the season, second generation California racer Herta will have the opportunity to match one of his father’s Indy Lights feats. Bryan Herta, who was driving for the Ohio-based Tasman Motorsports won the 1993 Indy Lights at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from the pole.
Urrutia, who won both Indy Lights races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016, spent the first 25 minutes of the half-hour session with a firm hold on the provisional pole, but was not able to hold on, and will start on the outside of the front row.
The majority of the field came to the attention of their crews just before the half-way point of the 30 minute session. The teams mounted fresh Cooper Tires, and the drivers made a final push to improve their qualifying position.
It took four or five laps for the sticker tires to get up to the optimal operating temperature but when they did, the times started to drop precipitously.
Nico Jamin, who has won his last five Mazda Road To Indy starts on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural terrain Mid-Ohio road course, was the first to knock Urrutia off the top spot.
The Frenchman didn’t hold the top spot for long, before it was his teammate Herta who went to the top of the timing and scoring screen. Jamin will start the race on the inside of the second row, and will be joined by Carlin sophomore Zachary Claman DeMelo.
Championship leader Kyle Kaiser, who qualified sixth for the first race of the weekend, will have even more work to do. The best the Juncos Racing veteran could do was the ninth quickest lap.
The first Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda race of the weekend rolls off at 3:35 P.M. later this afternoon.
Report by Steve Wittich
Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Urrutia scores race one pole
Mid-Ohio Indy Lights: Urrutia beats Herta in Race 1