Marco Andretti's last-lap stunner earns Detroit Race 1 pole

Images by Phil Abbott/LAT

Marco Andretti's last-lap stunner earns Detroit Race 1 pole


Marco Andretti's last-lap stunner earns Detroit Race 1 pole


Marco Andretti won the pole position for Saturday afternoon’s opening race in the Dual at Detroit with an exclamation point as he beat everyone by almost half a second.

In winning the fifth pole of his career — but first on a road or street course — Andretti threw down a blistering lap of 1m14.8514s in his Auto Nation Honda around the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle circuit.

“I’m definitely embarrassed to say that this is my first (road/street pole) but I’ve been outside pole so many times on road and street courses,” Andretti said. “I think yesterday I knew we had the speed. I clipped the wall when I was on a lap to be better than Ryan [Hunter-Reay], so I knew we had it in the car. All I had to do was execute, and I was able to do that instead of just talking, ‘Oh we would have been first.’ Now we are.”

Andretti’s stellar lap came on the final lap of the second 12-minute session after Scott Dixon set quick time in the opening group of qualifiers. The four-time IndyCar champion ran 1m15.4186s in his PNC Honda as Honda claimed eight of the top 10 starting spots.

“It was a pretty rough lap, actually,” admitted Dixon. “The car actually had more speed in it. Kinda hit the wall in [Turn] 8 and [Turn] 6 on the inside. Hit the curb big in [Turn] 11, which launched the car. It was a very scrappy lap. Group 2 had a bit of an advantage, especially since [we] went after the [Stadium SuperTrucks]. There’s a ton of grass and mess out there. We’re happy to be on the front row.”

Robert Wickens lines up third in his Lucas Oil Honda after turning a 1m15.3267s and seemingly having his second pole before Andretti’s monster lap. “We’re quick on blacks but still struggling to get enough out of reds,” he said.

Alexander Rossi is slotted fourth in the NAPA Honda, while teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay starts fifth in the DHL Honda and 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power is sixth and the highest Chevrolet in the 23-car field. Takuma Sato and RLL teammate Graham Rahal comprise Row 4 and James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton round out the top 10.

It was a tough session for Team Penske as 2017 IndyCar champ Josef Newgarden and 2016 titles Simon Pagenaud are back in Row 7.

UP NEXT: Race 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET