A stellar lap by Will Power ripped pole position away from Alex Palou, who was sitting seconds away from spoiling a string of five Chevy-powered rivals, at the end of qualifying for Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis road course.
Power earned the 64th pole of his career, setting a 1m09.7664s lap in the No. 12 Team Penske entry. Palou came up 0.0426s shy in the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda as Penske’s Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly, and the Arrow McLaren SP duo of Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist completed the Firestone Fast Six.
“I really, really enjoy them,” Power said of his 64th IndyCar pole, his sixth on the Indy road course. “You don’t even know if you’ll get another [pole]. I just feel very blessed and happy to have got it because it’s tough, and obviously I’m not 20 anymore either.”
After Daly’s impressive run, the next big performance came from Juncos Hollinger Racing’s Callum Ilott who placed the No. 77 Chevy in seventh. He was followed by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard in eighth who led the RLL organization and, after his No. 30 Honda, the rest of the stories involved those who stumbled and faltered.
Andretti Autosport missed the mark as a team in qualifying as Romain Grosjean was best among the group in 10th; Colton Herta was 14th and Alexander Rossi was 16th. With Daly starting fourth, teammate and defending race winner Rinus VeeKay was shocked to find himself done with qualifying after the first round. He’s set to start 15th in the No. 21 ECR Chevy.
“I honestly don’t know,” VeeKay said of the lack of pace. “We went to [the faster Firestone] reds and I was honestly pretty happy with the car; pretty happy with my lap. I’m very confused right now. I don’t know what we did wrong. I have no words for it. We should have at least advanced through.”
The adversity was far from over. CGR’s Marcus Ericsson was 18th, Helio Castroneves was 19th with teammate Simon Pagenaud next to him in 20th, and possibly the greatest surprise came from CGR’s Scott Dixon in 21st.
With rain as a possibility on Saturday, the field is loaded with front-running drivers starting in the bottom half of the grid. Whether it’s wet weather or alternate strategies, the Indy GP is going to be a busy affair.