Less than a day after the first race at Road America, Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward scored his maiden IndyCar pole for the second half of the weekend’s double-header.
O’Ward clocked in a time of 1:44.8971 on the softer Firestone red-walled tires, improving on his performance from earlier in the weekend and leading a couple other young drivers at the sharp end of the grid.
Last year’s polesitter Colton Herta qualified on the front row and will look to take the fight to O’Ward up the hill coming to the green flag into the first corner.
Yesterday’s breakout rookie performer Alex Palou will start from the same place he finished yesterday’s race. In order hold third, the young Spaniard will have to fend off Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will line up alongside on the second row.
The early morning session gave the drivers some extra grip to work with, and as a result the times were half of a second faster than the day before. The cars were still multiple seconds slower than years past, however, on account of the newly fitted Aeroscreen.
Qualifying had a modified format again today, with drivers setting times from a single session split into two groups rather than the usual knockout rounds.
Scott Dixon, hot off his third consecutive win, will start from sixth position in his PNC Bank Honda. Yesterday the five-time champion clawed his way to the front from ninth, so there is certainly a chance to continue the impressive winning streak.
Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud continued his poor pace from earlier in the weekend, only managing to put in a time good enough for the 22nd starting spot.
The only incident during qualifying was Santino Ferrucci, who took a trip through the grass, but was otherwise unaffected. Ferrucci was able to use his remaining laps in the session to manage an 11th place starting position.
The race starts shortly at 12:00 Eastern Time (17:00 BST), only giving the drivers a couple hours to prepare for the second full-length race in as many days.