Colton Herta took pole for the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, lapping his Andretti Autosport Honda around the 1.8-mile circuit in 1:00.321.
It is the second-generation racer’s fifth pole of his career, and he will look to avoid the chaos that typically occurs throughout the field on the tight street course by keeping at the head of the field from the outset.
Jack Harvey continued his good pace from the earlier practice sessions, and put his #60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda alongside on the front row.
Josef Newgarden, who has been at the top of the charts all weekend, was able to qualify third and will attempt to use his good position to earn his third straight victory from St. Pete.
Frenchmen Simon Pagenaud and Sebastien Bourdais each made it into the Fast-6 session, and will start fourth and fifth respectively.
Last week’s pole sitter Pato O’Ward had a car that looked unsettled throughout much of the track, but was able to pull a lap together good enough for the sixth starting position.
Will Power had earned the pole position 9 of last 11 races at St. Pete, but he touched the wall and bent his suspension in the opening round and he will have to start from all the way back in 20th position.
Scott Dixon almost had a disastrous qualifying session as he spun going into turn 8. The spin impeded another driver, and the Kiwi had his fastest lap disqualified from the opening round.
He was able to squeak through on the merits of his second-fastest time, however, and ended up locking in the eighth position for tomorrow’s race.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou followed up his breakout win last week in Alabama to earn P10 on the grid for this week’s race in Florida.
Felix Rosenqvist, who is usually noted as a street course specialist, did not have a good effort and will be starting from all the way back in the ninth row.
Romain Grosjean held his own and put in some fast times, but ended up not making it out of the first round of qualifying. He will start from row nine for tomorrow’s race alongside Rosenqvist.
Jimmie Johnson improved by over half of a second on his personal best time of the weekend, but still came up short compared to the more experienced talent in the field and will start from 23rd position.
The drivers will have a short warm-up session on Sunday morning, followed by the 100-lap Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at 12:30 Eastern Time.