Pato O’Ward nipped his former Indy Lights teammate Colton Herta by three-hundredths of a second on Sunday morning to grab the pole position for Sunday’s IndyCar race at Road America.
O’Ward, the 21-year-old Mexican, who captured the Lights title in 2018, stuck his Arrow McLaren SP Chevy in the top spot with a lap of 1m44.8971s around the legendary, 4-mile road course and that was just enough to earn the initial pole of his career.
“We got it together,” was how O’Ward summed up his breakthrough. “Yesterday in qualifying, we had a few issues and we just needed that little extra to really just put a lap together. Today we were pushing for this, man. We’re here to win. We’re not here to be qualifying eighth or 10th.
“There’s so much work that goes into these cars. I can’t thank the Arrow McLaren SP crew enough. They’ve been working their a**es off during the quarantine and every single race weekend; and this means a lot to me. Team Chevy has been a huge support for our team. It’s my first IndyCar pole, and let’s go man! I want to win this thing!”
Herta, the polesitter here a year ago, led Group 1 with a lap of 1m44.9250s in his Andretti Autosport Honda and will be be stalking his third NTT IndyCar Series victory from the outside of Row 1.
Alex Palou, the rookie from Spain who scored a third place on Saturday for Dale Coyne, continued to impress and lines up third while veteran Ryan Hunter-Reay starts fourth in another Andretti Honda. Graham Rahal continued his good qualifying performances and starts fifth in the RLL Honda while Scott Dixon will go for his fourth straight victory to open 2020 from sixth on the 23-car grid.
Josef Newgarden, the polesitter in Saturday’s op[ening round of the doubleheader, wound up a disappointing 14th for Team Penske.
The race starts at noon and airs on NBC.