By Steve Wittich Trackside Online
The green flag for the first group of qualifying for Saturday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio was shown from the starters stand at exactly 2pm. The skies were mostly sunny, the ambient temperature was a mild 79F and the track temperature was 94F.
Josef Newgarden, on sticker Firestone Racing Primary Tires (Blacks), was the first driver out on the 2.258-Mile, 13-Turn Mid-Ohio Road Course.
The entire field went out on Blacks, each turning three laps before coming to pit road to make the switch to the Firestone Racing Alternate Tires (Reds).
Power, with a lap at 67.2718 seconds was the quickest driver on the Blacks, followed by Herta, Rosenqvist, Dixon, and Newgarden.
The 11 drivers were all within 1.1 seconds, with the top 10 within 0.7 seconds.
The first driver back on track on the Reds, with just under five minutes remaining, was Scott Dixon.
With four minutes remaining in the session, Power, Harvey, Veach and Andretti were still on pit road, but quickly joined their fellow competitors.
The first driver to go quicker on the Reds was Rosenqvist, who moved to second quick. Soon after, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dixon went to the provisional pole.
On his next lap, Rosenqvist, grabbed the provisional pole back from his teammate.
On his last lap, Power showed what just how fast Team Penske was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this year. His lap of 66.3343 seconds was two-tenths quicker than his Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden.
Power said to Kelli Stavast Of NBCSN:
“Yeah I’m very pleased. Always good to see the Verizon 12 Chevy up front. It’s a very slippery track; it takes rubber a lot over a session. That lap didn’t feel like the tires were in. Sliding all over the place. But the car felt good. But I want a great race!
“Gotta execute on all fronts, on strategy and pit stops. That’s how you win races. Or if a lucky yellow falls your way… and it hasn’t gone my way all year.”
Points leader Dixon will have some work to do, if he wants to win his seventh race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. He’ll start in the ninth row beside Sato. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver had the fourth quickest lap in the morning practice and after the qualifying session told Stavast.
“Not really sure. The balance was really good this morning. It was really good on blacks. We were fourth on blacks. We did another lap. We went to the reds, and had no rear grip. This morning the balance went the other way. We changed two toes a tenth out. Maybe we missed something. It really hurt us, so we’ll have to do something strategy wise because it’s a straightforward race.
“It’s gonna be interesting starting that far back. Likely you’ll have to catch a caution of some sort. Felix looked like he struggled a bit too. It’s tough to figure out how we went quicker on blacks than on reds.”
Rounding out the top five in first group was Harvey, Rosenqvist and VeeKay.
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Group #1 Qualifying results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||ENGINE||BEST LAP||DIFF.|
|1||12||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.334||–.—-|
|2||1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevy||1:06.551||0.2165|
|3||60||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||Honda||1:06.769||0.4347|
|4||10||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:06.784||0.4498|
|5||21||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevy||1:07.011||0.6767|
|6||98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian||Honda||1:07.016||0.6819|
|7||88||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||Honda||1:07.021||0.6869|
|8||5||Pato O’Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevy||1:07.035||0.7011|
|9||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:07.141||0.8063|
|10||26||Zach Veach||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:07.210||0.8758|
|11||8||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||1:07.389||1.0547|
The green flag on Group #2 was shown by the starter at 2:17pm. The ambient temperature was 79F and the track temperature was 93F.
Oliver Askew stalled the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP on his way out of the pits and his crew had to go get him.
Like the first group, the drivers all completed three on Blacks.
Palou who, at that point of the session had the quickest lap, got onto the grass, sliding through the grass and bounding across the track. He was able to continue, but lost his quickest lap for causing a local yellow that impacted another driver.
Later on that lap, Rossi had a similar incident, but he wasn’t penalized because he didn’t interfere with another driver.
Rossi, with a lap at 68.2215 seconds was the quickest on Blacks. The rest of the top five were Sato, Chilton, Daly and Pagenaud.
The first driver to improve on the Reds was Hunter-Reay, who went quicker on his next two laps, ended up as the quickest driver in the second group.
After the session, he told Stavast that:
“The first one I did on the primary Firestones. It was light on grip. The reds were less than this morning which we expected with the track temp. It never came in; I’m surprised. Maybe the Mazda Indy rubber benefited the first group. A lot in the first group were quicker. Hopefully we can be on the same playing field in the race.
“The only thing we can think of right now, the only difference is they were out on a track with different rubber. Congrats to Will on pole… number 150, whatever.
(when reminded that his last front row was in Sonoma ’18) “I like that. I like that trend. Let’s go with that!”
His lap at 66.7287 seconds was not as quick as Power’s lap from the first group, meaning that Power will start on the pole for the 60th time in his career.
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Group #2 Qualifying Results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||TEAM||ENGINE||BEST LAP||DIFF.|
|1||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:06.729||–.—-|
|2||20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevy||1:06.876||0.1474|
|3||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Honda||1:07.186||0.4569|
|4||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||1:07.220||0.4918|
|5||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevy||1:07.249||0.5202|
|7||18||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan||Honda||1:07.501||0.7724|
|8||7||Oliver Askew||Arrow McLaren SP||Chevy||1:07.621||0.8924|
|9||30||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||1:07.819||1.0905|
|10||55||Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||Honda||1:08.155||1.4261|
|11||4||Charlie Kimball||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevy||1:08.378||1.6496|
|12||14||Dalton Kellett||AJ Foyt Enterprises||Chevy||1:08.544||1.8155|