Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward became the ninth pole winner in as many IndyCar races this season, while three of his title rivals had a troubled session at Mid-Ohio.
Indianpolis 500 winner and points leader Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing missed out on graduating to the Fast 12 in the very first session by a fraction, so starts 13th, while second-in-the-points Will Power went fastest in the second group but was pinged for impeding Helio Castroneves and had his lap times deleted.
Instead of fighting in the Fast 12, Power instead starts the race on row 11 (21st) after weaving on his warm-up lap when Castroneves arrived, Penske having appeared to not see the Brazilian approaching on its monitor in the pits.
Despite his race consistency, Power is on statistically the worst run of qualifying results in his IndyCar career, with tomorrow’s 21st place following 15th, 16th and 11th place starts in the previous three races. His Long Beach pole prior to that was preceded by 19th on the Barber grid!
Third in the championship Josef Newgarden didn’t escape the group stages either. He lamented traffic and will start 14th behind Ericsson.
He had been rapid in practice, was on pole here last year and was many people’s pick for pole.
“I know they are trying,” he said of Tatiana Calderon or Jimmie Johnson, who he believed were the cars in front of him on his flying laps.
"Look, we're going out first and I catch the slowpokes."
Championship contender Josef Newgarden does NOT advance to the next round of @INDYCAR qualifying and was upset about it.
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) July 2, 2022
That allowed O’Ward to come to the fore as the driver fourth in the championship, and coming off an engine failure at Road America last time out.
His McLaren team – buoyed by finally having ex-Newgarden engineer Gavin Ward onboard after what was effectively a gardening leave period – had identified this track as one it needed to improve on.
It got both of its cars into the Fast Six, with Felix Rosenqvist – who took pole at Texas earlier this year – in fourth.
It was clear the fight for pole was between O’Ward and Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, and the St Petersburg winner missed out by only 0.1328s.
Behind McLaughlin, Colton Herta scored third for Andretti Autosport, ahead of Rosenqvist and Ganassi’s Scott Dixon who loves Mid-Ohio and is looking for a strong result in what has been a disappointing season for him so far.
Simon Pagenaud is bedding into his new team Meyer Shank Racing well and rounded out the top six pole fight at the team’s home track.
Reigning champion and Mid-Ohio winner Alex Palou will start seventh having missed out on the pole fight by 0.0010s, with rookie star David Malukas less than a tenth behind, too.
Malukas says he wasn’t sure how O’Ward didn’t get an impeding penalty because Malukas was flying behind him and then was slowed. Malukas surmised he would have held up the car behind him if he had backed off to create a gap to get his lap away, but the stewards didn’t intervene.
The sum total of the story was that the Dale Coyne with HMD rookie should have made the Fast Six.
Kyle Kirkwood was a brilliant and career best ninth for AJ Foyt Racing, ahead of another rookie in Callum Ilott for Juncos Hollinger.
Rinus VeeKay will start 11th, while the resurgent Alexander Rossi who is as close to a sure thing in IndyCar at a top five at Mid-Ohio, will start from 12th for Andretti.
He’ll have close company with Ericsson and Newgarden starting just behind.
Romain Grosjean went out in the first group and will start 17th for Andretti.
|1||Patricio O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m06.761s||1m06.75s||1m06.705s|
|2||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m06.589s||1m06.534s||1m06.838s|
|3||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.005s||1m06.795s||1m07.026s|
|4||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m06.537s||1m06.543s||1m07.216s|
|5||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.034s||1m06.794s||1m07.404s|
|6||Simon Pagenaud||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m06.947s||1m06.795s||1m07.419s|
|7||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.115s||1m06.796s|
|8||David Malukas||Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m06.993s||1m06.82s|
|9||Kyle Kirkwood||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m07.237s||1m06.95s|
|10||Callum Ilott||Juncos Hollinger Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m06.962s||1m06.953s|
|11||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m06.819s||1m06.984s|
|12||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m06.95s||1m07.015s|
|13||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.147s|
|14||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m07.333s|
|15||Hélio Castroneves||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.179s|
|16||Christian Lundgaard||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.42s|
|17||Romain Grosjean||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.257s|
|18||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.59s|
|19||Takuma Sato||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.464s|
|20||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.647s|
|21||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m07.555s|
|22||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m07.674s|
|23||Dalton Kellett||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m08.244s|
|24||Jack Harvey||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m07.936s|
|25||Simona De Silvestro||Paretta Autosport||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m08.499s|
|26||Tatiana Calderón||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m08.437s|
|27||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m08.531s|