“****, I forgot how good this feels,” a smiling Romain Grosjean told RACER after capturing a statement-making pole for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix NTT IndyCar Series race.
Nearly a half-second clear of the other 26 drivers in attendance, the Andretti Autosport pilot delivered the kind of performance that was expected throughout his dispiriting debut with the team in 2022.
“The best thing is we worked really hard and you know, everything before qualifying was a bit stressful because you want to do a good job at the first race of the season, and to have the ensemble of three guys in the Fast Six, and then just going forward and getting the pole with Colton (Herta) on the front row with me was just bloody awesome,” Grosjean said. “I’m so excited for tomorrow.”
Part of Grosjean’s energy-filled response to winning pole was due to it serving as a surprise.
“My sector times on my dash didn’t work good, so I didn’t think I was on for a good lap,” he admitted. “It said I was plus four-tenths after Turn 9, so I thought the lap was going to be bad because I didn’t understand how I lost so much time. So I went into Turn 10, said that I’m gonna try to brake super late and see what it does, and it worked well, it rotated, I went to the power, and it works well.
“And then I get through the finish line and then it said I did a 59.55s, and I thought, ‘Okay, that is good.’ I didn’t know where it was (on the grid), but it was fast enough for pole. I just had a really good car on new tires, and (race engineer) Olivier (Boisson) made a slight sort of change for the last part of quali and that really worked.”