Alexander Rossi is set to start the IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey from the front row alongside his team-mate Colton Herta, but he has expressed that he would actually rather start from third position.
A third place grid slot would have given the California-native an inside line into turn one, which he believes would have been quite helpful for the start of Sunday’s race.
Rossi was originally slated to start third, but Team Penske’s Will Power was given a penalty for not slowing under a local yellow caused by Pato O’Ward’s spin into the gravel at The Corkscrew.
The penalty came in the form of the Kiwi losing his fastest lap, and moved him down a single position from second to third.
The front-row start is still a better position than most of the field will be in, and Rossi was happy to qualify second for the second week in a row.
“I wish sometimes in racing you got to decline penalties, because I think we would have rather started third than second,” said Rossi after qualifying.
“It’s great for the team to lock out the front row. I think that’s a big testament to the development that continues to happen with the whole organization and the progression that we’ve made really since the summer break.
“It’s a great result for the guys, and obviously Colton [Herta] did a great job. We knew he was going to be difficult to beat here, obviously winning from pole last year.
“I think everyone is going to be on the same strategy in terms of pit stops. I haven’t really given much thought as to what tires I want to start on.
“I think the track evolution from now to the start of the race will be pretty minimal. Obviously as the race goes on, the grip will come up.
“We think we have a good shot at it tomorrow. We’re happy with the car. We haven’t made many changes this weekend. We’ll just wait and see what tomorrow brings.”
Some other sports allow the would-be beneficiary of an infraction to decline the enforcement of the penalty should they feel the original result is more helpful.
IndyCar, aligning with most other motorsport organizations, does not allow a penalty to be declined, however, and Rossi is compelled to start from second in Sunday’s race.
The 95-lap Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey from Laguna Seca is slated to take place Sunday at 3:00 PM Eastern Time.