Using an alternate tyre strategy, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was able to claim pole position for the REV Group Grand Prix at Road America.
After a shortened qualifying format for the double header in Detroit, IndyCar returned to its traditional three session knockout format which includes the Firestone Fast Six.
The sessions were heavily dictated by tyres, on account to the high track temperatures and abrasive nature of the circuit at Elkhart Lake.
It all meant Newgarden was able to maximise the initial speed of the harder black Firestone tyres on a set that the team had saved from the earlier practice sessions.
Colton Herta was the fastest driver on the softer red-walled tyres, and set a time good enough to join two-time champion on the front row. The 21-year-old tried a second run on a used set of the softer tyres but was couldn’t find more time.
Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey put in another strong qualifying effort in the No.60 entry to head the second row with Penske’s Will Power for company.
Chip Ganassi’s Alex Palou the Spaniard has the opportunity to capitalise on his championship rivals from fifth on the grid, and will start alongside Simon Pagenaud.
Romain Grosjean is swiftly becoming a regular front-running challenger in IndyCar, the Frenchman looked set to take a spot in the Fast Six, but the pace ramped up at the end of the session and was quickly bumped and will start the race from seventh on the grid.
Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay joins Grosjean on the fourth row, team-mate Alexander Rossi follows behind in ninth as his difficult 2021 season continues.
Championship leader Pato O’Ward will be looking to make up places as the Mexican rounds out the top 10 in the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP.
Dixon’s championship challenge has taken another twist after the Kiwi suffered a lack of practice time as the No.9 PNC Bank-Honda suffered floor damage going through the Carousel.
Oliver Askew proved competitive as he is covering the injured Rinus VeeKay at Ed Carpenter Racing, and the Floridian will start 16th.
After just 18 laps in an IndyCar, Kevin Magnussen was able to get up to a competitive speed and place the No.7 AMSP Chevrolet in 21st grid slot.
Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix is scheduled to get underway at 12:40 EDT.