Jordan King might have been more impressive than he was quick on Friday.
The 24-year-old Brit wound up fifth fastest in Ed Carpenter’s Chevy, but it’s how he got there that was the real story.
When Group 1 qualifying began, King went out and immediately coasted back into the pits.
“I didn’t have any brakes,” he declared. “So the crew did a great job of solving the problem and I was able to go back out with a couple minutes left.”
And that meant he got one hot lap — which was all he needed to post a time that advanced him into the top 12.
“We did a whole day of testing here and that really helped because I was up to speed on my first lap this morning,” he said. “Normally it takes a couple of runs to really get into the circuit and learns its characteristics. I didn’t need to do that today.”
From there he hoofed it into the Fast Six by posting the second-best lap in Top 12 eliminations.
“Each track is different but I like the flow of this place,” said King, who qualified fourth fastest in his IndyCar debut at St. Pete and made a nice outside pass to take the lead five laps before being KO’d by mechanical failure.
Starting fifth is good, but King thought he might have had something for pole-sitter Will Power.
“On used tires I just couldn’t quite switch them on the same way and get the lap time out of it,” he explained.
Carpenter has been high on King’s potential since their first test together, but one of the resplendent rookies of 2018 almost seems to expect good results despite his unfamiliarity with the car and tracks.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve surprised myself,” he said. “I’m more just focusing on doing my job at my own speed and its proven to work. It’s not so much that I’m constantly looking at the timing and scoring and seeing where I am.
“I’m just getting on with it and where I end up is where I end up.”