Detroit IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi, Grosjean to Race 1 pole

Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy earned his second pole of the season, edging two former F1 drivers Alexander Rossi and rookie Romain Grosjean in qualifying for Race 1 of the Detroit GP double-header.

Detroit IndyCar: O’Ward beats Rossi, Grosjean to Race 1 pole

The Detroit GP traditionally has a different qualifying system than the other road/street courses, but this year it was brought much closer in line with the regular system. The 25 cars were divided into groups of 12 and 13 in qualifying, with the top six from each going forward into a top 12 fight for pole. The difference there was no Q3 Firestone Fast Six shootout.

As the drivers discovered yesterday, the softer Firestone compounds, the red-sidewalled tires, were taking a long while to get up to operating temperature around the 2.35-mile course, so many drivers cut short their ‘banker’ laps on the primary compound, to work the reds for longer.

That didn’t explain Andretti Autosport-Honda’s two-time Detroit polesitter Alexander Rossi laying down a startling 1min15.8507sec in Group 1 to beat the rest of his rivals field – led by Dale Coyne Racing with RWR’s Romain Grosjean – by an incredible 0.82sec. The tire behavior did explain why Will Power only scraped through with his second flyer on reds.

The biggest surprise was Chip Ganassi Racing’s championship leader Alex Palou finishing 10th. His misery was multiplied, knowing that he was being penalized a further six places for his early engine change at the Indy 500.

Rossi’s laptime was put in perspective when Group 2 ran, as Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden beat it, while Colton Herta (Andretti) and Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan-Honda) matched it.

None of the three Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Hondas made it through, and neither did rookie Scott McLaughlin, who crashed on his sixth lap in yesterday’s practice session, and therefore is still learning the track.

Ganassi’s Jimmie Johnson made a notable stride overnight, knocking more than two seconds off his deficit to the fastest in his session, to finish up 3.2sec down.

It was therefore no surprise to see Newgarden, Scott Dixon and Pato O’Ward go straight out on reds. The times tumbled, with Grosjean, O’Ward, Rossi and Jones all taking turns at the top, until Pato O’Ward nailed his second pole of the season with a scintillating 1min15.5776sec lap, an average of 111.938mph.

That was a mere 0.08sec faster than Rossi, while Grosjean was by far the quickest rookie in third, ahead of Jones.

Josef Newgarden was top Penske driver in fifth, although Power was tracking to be 0.18sec faster than O’Ward but clipped a wall with his left-rear. At the next corner, a right-hander, the rears locked and he grazed a tire wall, ending his bid with seventh, behind Colton Herta.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won here in 2018, took eighth, half a second ahead of Pagenaud, while former Detroit winners Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon beat Rinus VeeKay, who has never raced here before.

The first race of the Detroit double-header begins at 2pm local (Eastern) time today.

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Pato O'Ward

1:15.5776

1:15.5776

5

6

111.938

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

2

Alexander Rossi

1:15.6584

0.0808

5

6

111.818

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

3

Romain Grosjean

1:15.7433

0.1657

5

7

111.693

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

4

Ed Jones

1:15.8119

0.2343

5

6

111.592

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

5

Josef Newgarden

1:15.8697

0.2921

5

6

111.507

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Colton Herta

1:16.0832

0.5056

4

6

111.194

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

7

Will Power

1:16.0877

0.5101

5

6

111.187

Chevy

A

Team Penske

8

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:16.1293

0.5517

5

6

111.127

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

9

Simon Pagenaud

1:16.6606

1.0830

5

6

110.357

Chevy

A

Team Penske

10

Sebastien Bourdais

1:17.4333

1.8557

4

5

109.255

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

11

Scott Dixon

1:17.8680

2.2904

4

5

108.645

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

Rinus VeeKay

1:17.8776

2.3000

2

6

108.632

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

Segment 1, Group 2

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Josef Newgarden

1:15.6606

1:15.6606

6

6

111.815

Chevy

A

Team Penske

2

Colton Herta

1:15.8439

0.1833

6

6

111.545

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

3

Ed Jones

1:15.8696

0.2090

5

6

111.507

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan

4

Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:16.1328

0.4722

5

6

111.122

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

5

Sebastien Bourdais

1:16.1339

0.4733

6

6

111.120

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

6

Scott Dixon

1:16.3151

0.6545

6

6

110.856

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

7

Felix Rosenqvist

1:16.4620

0.8014

6

6

110.643

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

8

Takuma Sato

1:16.4713

0.8107

6

6

110.630

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

9

Max Chilton

1:16.6093

0.9487

6

6

110.430

Chevy

A

Carlin

10

Graham Rahal

1:16.6694

1.0088

6

6

110.344

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

11

Santino Ferrucci

1:16.6880

1.0274

2

6

110.317

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

12

Scott McLaughlin

1:17.5569

1.8963

6

6

109.081

Chevy

A

Team Penske

Segment 1, Group 1

P

Name

FTime

Diff

FL

Laps

FSpeed

Engine

Tire

Team

1

Alexander Rossi

1:15.8507

1:15.8507

5

5

111.535

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

2

Romain Grosjean

1:16.6715

0.8208

6

7

110.341

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing w/Rick Ware Racing

3

Rinus VeeKay

1:16.8172

0.9665

5

6

110.132

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

4

Pato O'Ward

1:16.8406

0.9899

6

6

110.098

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren SP

5

Simon Pagenaud

1:16.9636

1.1129

4

6

109.922

Chevy

A

Team Penske

6

Will Power

1:17.0343

1.1836

6

6

109.821

Chevy

A

Team Penske

7

James Hinchcliffe

1:17.0691

1.2184

3

5

109.772

Honda

A

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

8

Marcus Ericsson

1:17.1579

1.3072

5

5

109.645

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

Conor Daly

1:17.2904

1.4397

5

6

109.457

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Racing

10

Jack Harvey

1:17.4180

1.5673

5

6

109.277

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

11

Alex Palou

1:17.5190

1.6683

6

6

109.135

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

12

Jimmie Johnson

1:19.0944

3.2437

6

6

106.961

Honda

A

Chip Ganassi Racing

13

Dalton Kellett

1:19.4821

3.6314

2

6

106.439

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

 

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