Mid-Ohio IndyCar: Newgarden beats Herta to pole by 0.0031sec

Josef Newgarden took his third pole of the season with a mighty effort in the #2 Team Penske-Chevrolet, beating Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Colton Herta with his final flyer.

Firestone Fast Six

Newgarden lapped the 2.238-mile course in 66.6739sec, an average speed of 121.919mph, to shade Herta by just 0.0031sec. These two appeared to be in a league of their own, as Will Power slipped up on what should have been his best lap in the Fast Six, so that his ‘banker’ lap ended up as his fastest.

That allowed Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing to edge ahead of him and into third place.

Ericsson’s teammate Scott Dixon, a six-time Mid-Ohio winner, finished sixth, ahead of the second fastest Andretti Autosport-Honda of Alexander Rossi.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 United States Josef Newgarden
United States Team Penske 4 1'06.673 121.919
2 United States Colton Herta
United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'06.677 0.003 121.913
3 Sweden Marcus Ericsson
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 3 1'07.072 0.398 121.195
4 Australia Will Power
United States Team Penske 4 1'07.116 0.442 121.115
5 New Zealand Scott Dixon
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 4 1'07.135 0.461 121.080
6 United States Alexander Rossi
United States Andretti Autosport 4 1'07.218 0.544 120.932

Q2

Alex Palou, Marcus Ericssson and Scott Dixon all took their Chip Ganassi Racing-Hondas out straight away on scrubbed reds at the start of the session and each took turns at the top before pitting for fresh reds, as did the cars who laid down their banker laps using Firestone’s harder primaries.

Sebastien Bourdais incurred a drive-through penalty for exceeding the pitlane speed limit in the AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet which ruined his chances.

Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, Will Power and Alexander Rossi were the class of the field, covered by a single-tenth of a second, while a late surge from Dixon and Ericsson knocked their championship leading teammate Palou out of the top six.

Graham Rahal beat two of the Andretti Autosport cars that had moved on from Group 2, but he still didn’t quite advance to the shootout for pole, and will roll off from eighth on the grid.

Q1 Group 2

Colton Herta topped the times with 66.2685sec, ahead of the Ganassi cars of Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson, while Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe made sure all four Andretti Autosport-Hondas were through to the Group 2. Sixth was the brave Rinus VeeKay, making his return to IndyCar with eight pins in his clavicle following his biking accident.

Scott McLaughlin missed out on graduating by 0.0063sec, Romain Grosjean also failed to advance, but the shocker was this morning’s practice leader Pato O’Ward failing to advance, down in 10th, 0.6sec off the top spot. The title contender was 0.6sec off the ultimate pace, saying that his car was changing from tire set to tire set, but also admitted he didn’t drive that well.

Q1 Group 1

Will Power suffered an electrical failure during his out-lap, and had to pit immediately for a new ECU. Other teams wasted little time in pitting for their reds and returned to the track. Power got out with only 3min20sec remaining, and of course had to use reds immediately. He looked like he inadvertently got in the way of Felix Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy, but no action was taken.

Jack Harvey stopped his Meyer Shank Racing-Honda just beyond the checkered flag and while Alexander Rossi responded by burping the throttle a little and winding up eighth, Simon Pagenaud apparently didn’t and bumped his way into third. Rob Edwards, Rossi’s strategist then argued the case with Race Control that Rossi should be in, because not only should Harvey be penalized for causing the yellow, Pagenaud should lose his best time for not slowing.

In fact, IndyCar did penalize Harvey, Pagenaud and Rossi, all losing their best times – but Rossi’s second best time was enough to get him through in sixth.

So moving on were Josef Newgarden, Alex Palou, Power, Graham Rahal, Sebastien Bourdais and Rossi.

Cla Driver Team Time Gap Mph
1 United States Josef Newgarden
United States Team Penske 1'06.016 123.132
2 Spain Alex Palou
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 1'06.513 0.496 122.214
3 Australia Will Power
United States Team Penske 1'06.542 0.525 122.160
4 United States Graham Rahal
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1'06.560 0.543 122.127
5 France Sébastien Bourdais
United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1'06.611 0.594 122.033
6 United States Alexander Rossi
United States Andretti Autosport 1'06.645 0.628 121.971
7 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist
United States Arrow McLaren SP 1'06.789 0.773 121.707
8 France Simon Pagenaud
United States Team Penske 1'06.843 0.826 121.609
9 United Kingdom Max Chilton
United Kingdom Carlin 1'06.847 0.830 121.603
10 Japan Takuma Sato
United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1'07.095 1.078 121.153
11 Canada Dalton Kellett
United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1'07.586 1.569 120.272
12 United Kingdom Jack Harvey
United States Meyer Shank Racing 1'07.674 1.657 120.117
13 United States Jimmie Johnson
United States Chip Ganassi Racing 1'08.407 2.390 118.829
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