Colton Herta earned his first IndyCar pole of the season in exceedingly slick conditions around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The 20-year-old was among a few up-and-coming young drivers who skillfully wrangled the wet course and earned good starting positions for the second race of the weekend.
A heavy rain shower moved through the area just before the qualifying session was about to begin, setting the stage for the manic battle. The start to qualifying was even forced into a delay while the medical helicopter was en route to the track. Once it arrived, the cars headed out 30 minutes later than originally planned.
Right from the start, the damp conditions proved to be exceedingly treacherous. Multiple drivers spun while just trying to do a slow warm-up lap, even though rain tires were fitted. There were so many drivers having trouble that there was barely any time to put in a fast lap with a clear track.
Santino Ferrucci put in a killer lap, but he was assigned the first of two qualifying groups and had to navigate a wetter track than some of his rivals.
Jack Harvey was the biggest loser of the session, smashing his #60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda into the tire barrier and breaking his rear wing. Everybody else was lucky to escape their spins with no damage, which is extra important with the race scheduled a mere one and a half hours after qualifying.
Will Power, following on from his dominant flag to flag win yesterday, got his Team Penske Chevy stuck in the grass and was not able to complete a lap. He will be joined at the rear of the field by Pato O’Ward, who also needed help to get his car unstuck.
Marco Andretti was the only driver to attempt a run on slick tires at the end of the session, as the track dried. The Indy 500 pole sitter was only able to manage a seventh place starting position, and he needed a few more laps on the drying track to make his gamble really pay off.
The second race of the double-header weekend begins in just over an hour’s time, with the green flag flying at 13:00 EDT.