In one of the wildest qualifying sessions to date, it would be Colton Herta of Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport who would take his fourth NTT Data IndyCar Series pole for race two of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Qualifying was delayed due to having to wait for the safety helicopter to reach the track and land. When things got started, yesterday’s group two would hit the track first today on a green racetrack.
Drivers found it difficult to navigate as soon as the session began, with drivers slipping and sliding off the track for the entire session. A red flag was put out for Charlie Kimball, who spun out of turn one and stalled.
The green flag came out once again with under five minutes to go, and by the time the checkered flag came out it would be Santino Ferrucci for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan who put together a very tidy lap to be the fastest in group two, with a lap time of 1:27.468. His fellow Dale Coyne teammate, Alex Palou in the Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda, would finish almost more than three full seconds behind Ferrucci with a time of 1:30.710.
Simon Pagenaud, a noted lover of racing in the rain, would put his Team Penske Chevrolet third fastest in group one. After spinning out on the second lap of race one, he will be looking for a better finish in race two.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who after finding himself facing the wrong way in turn one, would put together a solid lap to start eighth. A far cry from starting on the front row like he did yesterday. He would be followed by his Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi, who finished the session fifth after claiming his second podium of the season in race one.
Today, group two would consist of yesterday’s group one, and they would arguably have an advantage being able to watch how group two handled the rain. However, multiple spins would bring out yet another red flag.
Both Jack Harvey and Will Power would be done for the session after separate wrecks, with the Mid-Ohio mud turning Power’s silver Verizon car a nice earthy brown.
The lengthy cleanup time for Harvey’s Meyer Shank Racing machine stopped the clock at about four minutes to go. Normally, that clock would continue to run through a red flag, but race control made the decision to stop it to guarantee drivers at least one lap under green.
Just as things got going again, Pato O’Ward would beach his Arrow McLaren SP car in the gravel outside of turn two, prompting yet another red flag.
After the group was finally able to turn laps, they would be much faster than those of group one, with Herta setting a lap of 1:26.278 to take pole. Everyone in this session that was able to complete a lap would have a faster time than that of Palou, showing just how much the track evolved across the two sessions.
Scott Dixon would have a much better qualifying session than he did yesterday, putting himself on the second row after a lap time of 1:27:099. His Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Felix Rosenqvist will start right behind him in the race, going third fastest in the group and securing a fifth place starting spot.
Marco Andretti gambled and was the only driver to put on red wall Firestone dry tyres for his run, and was able to wrestle his car to a fourth place spot in group two.
Rounding out the top five would be race one’s runner up Josef Newgarden, who would set a lap time of 1:28.417. He will not be happy to be starting behind championship leader Dixon as he tries to close the points gap at a track notoriously difficult for overtaking.
The race is set to start at 13:00 EST / 18:00 GMT. With the track drying out and fatigue setting in, this should make for a very interesting race.
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 2 Qualifying Top 10
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||NAT||TEAM||BEST TIME|
|1||88||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:26.2788|
|2||18||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan||01:27.4688|
|3||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:27.0991|
|4||55||Alex Palou (R)||ESP||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||01:30.7107|
|5||10||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:27.1414|
|6||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||01:31.7359|
|7||98||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco Andretti and Curb-Agajanian||01:27.4608|
|8||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:31.9096|
|9||1||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||01:28.4174|
|10||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:32.7010|
You can view the full qualifying results group by group here.