Alexander Rossi took advantage of a fast drying track and his aggressive style to capture the pole position for Sunday’s second Dual at Detroit.
A morning downpour made Firestone’s new rain tires mandatory for both 12-minute qualifying groups, as Robert Wickens paced the first session with an impressive lap of 1m33.6605 in his Lucas Oil Honda. But the conditions were just a little bit better in the second round and Rossi capitalized.
The current Verizon IndyCar series point leader turned a lap of 1m33.3143s in his Ruoff/NAPA Honda before Josef Newgarden plugged his car into the tires and brought out the red flag with just under four minutes remaining and that ended the session.
“Firestone did an amazing job,” said Rossi after scoring the third pole of his IndyCar career. “There was a lot of grip and they were very predictable. We had the balance right and I was able to push hard and find the grip.”
Wickens, who captured the pole at St. Pete in his IndyCar debut and controlled the race until being spun out by Rossi with two laps to go, continued to shine.
“We had a great car and it was good enough to be quickest on that session so starting second isn’t bad,” said the Canadian. “The conditions were very tricky.”
Honda again dominated with nine of the top 10 spots as Indy 500 winner Will Power gave Chevrolet its only hope by qualifying third in the Verizon Chevy.
“I’m happy with that,” said Power, who was Chevy’s highest finisher in Saturday’s opener with a seventh place. “I told my guys if we could qualify in the top four we would have a chance of doing something in the race.”
Ed Jones lines up fourth in the NTT Data Honda, with Chip Ganassi Racing teammate and Saturday’s victor Scott Dixon fifth and James Hinchcliffe sixth in his Arrow Honda. Rookie Zach Veach turned in his best qualifying performance to date and lines up seventh, while Simon Pagenaud was eighth, Graham Rahal ninth and Ryan Hunter-Reay 10th.
Tony Kanaan spun and grazed the wall on his out lap and starts way back in 22nd place, while Newgarden is 19th and Takuma Sato 20th. Owner Ricardo Juncos opted to sit out rookie Rene Binder for qualifying and he’ll start 23rd.