Within the last few minutes of Fast Six qualifying at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden outperformed Colton Herta by 0.0031 of a second to win his third pole of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season after laying down a lap of 1:06.6739.
The pole position is much needed for Newgarden after a frustrating result of 21st after dominating the Road America race a few weeks ago.
“That was a little tighter than I wanted it to be,” Newgarden said about the pole run. “I about fell apart the second half of that lap. I opened the lap really well. The car has been on rails right out of the box. I am really proud of the team.
“Obviously thanks to this whole group here. Everyone at Team Penske has been on it. We’ve had some troubles the last couple weeks securing a win, but I can’t ask much different. They are doing everything they need to do to win these races. Excited to have another chance with a really great car. Team Chevy keeps doing a great job for us.
“It’s good to have XPEL on the car. They’ve been a great partner for us the last couple of years. There is an anniversary. I didn’t know this coming into it. This is the 50th year today for Team Penske and Roger Penske scoring the first win for the organization with Mark Donohue. I was thinking of how cool it is to be in the car here racing today. Every now and then you have moments where you reflect that you are actually doing this. It’s so cool It’s a dream to drive for Roger and this entire group. So proud of everybody. Hopefully, we can seal one off tomorrow—that’s what we need to do.”
Colton Herta appeared to be in a good position to secure the pole before he was knocked off the top spot. Nevertheless, the Andretti Autosport driver will have a good starting spot for Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio after he qualified on the outside pole with a time of 1:06.6770. The front row start is Herta’s fourth of the season with the exception of his pole run at St. Petersburg.
“You have to think that there’s 3/1000ths in it somewhere,” Herta said. “It’s a little disappointing when you lose by
that much. I think it’s like the third straight weekend I finished second during qualifying. In the Detroit race, too.
Road America. And now here. So I’m getting tired of it. I gotta get around it. It’s always fun to battle with Josef, and especially for the race. He’s one of the guys that’s extremely clean in the series and always races hard. I’m looking forward to that now.”
There were numerous incidents of note that occurred during the first session of qualifying.
During the session, the No. 60 of Jack Harvey came to a stop in Turn 9 bringing out a local yellow. As Harvey’s car was stopped on track, the No. 27 of Alexander Rossi and the No. 22 of Simon Pagenaud went flying by the No. 60 without slowing down.
As a result, both Rossi’s and Pagenaud’s current lap was deleted for failing to reduce speed. The same penalty was handed to Harvey as well.
Despite Rossi receiving the early penalty, he was able to bounce back and be a part of the Fast Six and qualified sixth, setting a pace of 1:07.2181.
“Qualifying was dramatic,” Rossi said. “The yellow flag in the first round really hurt us, but fortunately with INDYCAR rules if you cause another car to slow down your lap gets deleted, so we were able to transfer in. From there, we were able to show the pace of the car. Round 2 was quite good for us, but ultimately we didn’t have the pace in the (Firestone) Fast 6 round. Not quite what we wanted, but we have one more practice to get the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda dialed in for the race.”
IndyCar will have one more practice session Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET lasting approximately 30 minutes, live on Peacock (with a subscription).
The Honda Indy 200 is scheduled to go green Sunday at 12:05 p.m. ET live on NBC for the 80-lap race.
Official Starting Line Up for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course:
- (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:06.6739 (121.919)
- (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:06.6770 (121.913)
- (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.0723 (121.195)
- (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:07.1161 (121.115)
- (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:07.1358 (121.080)
- (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.2181 (120.932)
- (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:06.4883 (122.259)
- (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:06.5946 (122.064)
- (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:06.6134 (122.030)
- (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:06.7517 (121.777)
- (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:06.7671 (121.749)
- (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:06.9232 (121.465)
- (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:06.7898 (121.707)
- (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:06.7313 (121.814)
- (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:06.8437 (121.609)
- (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:06.7882 (121.710)
- (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:06.8473 (121.603)
- (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:06.8642 (121.572)
- (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.0951 (121.153)
- (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:06.8679 (121.565)
- (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:07.5866 (120.272)
- (45) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 01:06.9254 (121.461)
- (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:07.6740 (120.117)
- (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:07.0704 (121.198)
- (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:08.4077 (118.829)
- (52) Ryan Norman, Honda, 01:07.4714 (120.478)