Power blasts to last-minute pole at Mid-Ohio

by Jordan Groves

Will Power has claimed pole position for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The Australian, driving for Team Penske, put in a stunning final lap of the session to steal pole position from championship contender Alexander Rossi by four tenths of a second.

After the first few rounds of qualifying, it looked as though Rossi was on course to take a second-consecutive Mid-Ohio pole position. The Californian looked imperious in the first two rounds and took the fastest time of the weekend so far in the second session to qualify for the shoot-out for pole position.

Rossi had a slightly shaky start to the final round to decide pole position. He put a wheel off-track during his first lap which left him down in fourth place after the first runs were completed. However, when he returned to the track for his final run, he was right back on the money. His first lap was good enough to go fastest at the time with a 1:05.7, but he would then go on to put in a blinding lap on his second and final lap to move up to a 1:05.5; a fantastic lap given that the tyres were starting to go off.

It looked as though Rossi had pole position in his pocket, but Penske’s Power had something to say about that. All of a sudden, the timing screens started to light up during Power’s final lap, with the Australian crossing the line to set a stunning lap-time of 1:05.1569 to steal pole position away from Rossi. No one else would be able to challenge for the top spot, with Power going on to claim his fifty-seventh IndyCar pole position, his third pole of the 2019 season and his fourth at Mid-Ohio.

Power was absolutely elated to have taken pole position. After a hugely disappointing season so far, Power needed a strong, confidence-building result such as this to try and get himself back on the rails. He will be looking to convert pole position into his first win of the season in tomorrow’s race.

Fresh off of announcing his multi-year contract extension with Andretti Autosport, Alexander Rossi qualified in second-place for Sunday’s race. It was looking oh so good for Rossi to perhaps take another pole position at Mid-Ohio, but he will at least start from the front row of the grid tomorrow. He will hope to dominate as he did in last year’s race to try and take his third win of the season.

Credit: Chris Jones / Courtesy of IndyCar

Rossi will be hoping to claw his way back towards the championship-leader, Josef Newgarden. As always, the pair were nigh on inseparable, with Newgarden qualifying just behind in fourth place. The third and final Penske Chevrolet of Simon Pagenaud will line-up fourth tomorrow, with Dale Coyne Racing‘s Sebastien Bourdais and Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Felix Rosenqvist rounding out the top six that made it into the pole position shoot-out.

Harding Steinbrenner Racing‘s rookie, Colton Herta, missed out on a spot in the final session by just three thousandths of a second. He will line-up in seventh place tomorrow, just behind fellow rookie Rosenqvist.

Reigning series champion, Scott Dixon, will start only eighth in what may be considered as a vital weekend for Dixon if he wants to remain in contention for the championship. Despite the disappointing qualification, Dixon will at least have the experience of numerous wins at Mid-Ohio in the past, including one after having started from last place back in 2016.

Meyer Shank Racing‘s Jack Harvey qualified in ninth place on his and the team’s return to the championship after almost two months away. The team, who are potentially looking to move to a full-time campaign in IndyCar next year, will be hoping to score a strong result tomorrow on their return. Ryan Hunter-Reay was just behind in tenth place, with the Arrow Schmidt Peterson duo of James Hinchcliffe and Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top twelve that made it into the second round of qualifying.

Perhaps the most surprising elimination from the first round of qualifying came in the form of Ed Carpenter Racing‘s Spencer Pigot. The American looked fantastic during practice prior to qualifying, but he simply did not have the pace to advance out of the first round. He will start just outside of the top twelve in thirteenth place, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s rookie, Santino Ferrucci.

Neither of the two Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing drivers advanced out of the first round. Former Mid-Ohio race winner, Graham Rahal, will start in fifteenth place, with team-mate Takuma Sato just behind in seventeenth place. A decent lap saw Carlin‘s Max Chilton qualify between the pair in sixteenth.

Another driver who showed decent pace in practice was A.J. Foyt Enterprises driver, Matheus Leist. The Brazilian was deep inside the top ten in practice two, but could only manage twenty-first place in qualifying. His team-mate, veteran Tony Kanaan, will bookend the field in twenty-third and last place, starting just behind the returning Carlin driver, RC Enerson, who Kanaan had words with after a disagreement in practice yesterday.

Credit: Chris Jones / Courtesy of IndyCar

2019 NTT IndyCar Series – Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – Qualifying results:

112Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:05.1569
227Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport1:05.5317
32Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:05.7885
422Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:05.8958
518Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan1:06.2040
610Felix Rosenqvist (R)SWEChip Ganassi Racing1:06.4914
--Eliminated in Q2---
788Colton Herta (R)USAHarding Steinbrenner Racing1:05.5650
89Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:05.6999
960Jack HarveyGBRMeyer Shank Racing1:05.7231
1028Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:05.7328
115James HinchcliffeCANArrow Schmidt Peterson1:05.7567
127Marcus Ericsson (R)SWEArrow Schmidt Peterson1:06.0428
--Eliminated in Q1---
1321Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:05.9377
1419Santino Ferrucci (R)USADale Coyne Racing1:05.7588
1515Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:05.9745
1659Max ChiltonGBRCarlin1:05.9981
1730Takuma SatoJAPRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:06.3723
1820Ed JonesUAEEd Carpenter Racing with Vasser Sullivan1:06.1800
1998Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Herta1:06.4156
2026Zach VeachUSAAndretti Autosport1:06.2115
214Matheus LeistBRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises1:06.5488
2231RC Enerson (R)USACarlin1:06.3196
2314Tony KanaanBRAA.J. Foyt Enterprises1:07.0491

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