With temperatures some 30degF cooler than when the teams last raced here on July the Fourth weekend, Palou turned a lap of 1min10.178sec, an average speed of 125.117mph, to head Meyer Shank Racing Honda’s Jack Harvey by 0.0996sec.
It was a somewhat inconclusive session because Marcus Ericsson spun his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda with fewer than five minutes to go, before many of the team had tried out their red-sidewalled softer-compound Firestones.
Nonetheless, Palou’s speed was impressive as it virtually equaled Will Power’s pole position time from July. The Team Penske-Chevrolet driver was unable to set a representative time on reds as he and Andretti Autosport-Honda driver Alexander Rossi had a feather-light rub together at the end of the back straight when the field made a dash for the track in the closing three minutes. The silver #12 looped into a spin, and Rossi himself was delayed enough that he too missed setting a time.
Thus it was Colton Herta who upheld Andretti Autosport honor with third fastest time ahead of champion elect Scott Dixon of Ganassi.
Max Chilton, who shone here at IMS road course in July, looked impressive again, finishing fifth ahead of defending champion Josef Newgarden in the fastest of the Penske cars, Graham Rahal of Rahal Letterman Lanigan-Honda, Patricio O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy, Felix Rosenqvist (Ganassi) and Simon Pagenaud (Penske).
Prepping for his first IndyCar race of the year, Sebastien Bourdais was 22nd for AJ Foyt Racing, just ahead of Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian 45-year-old hasn’t competed on a road course in an IndyCar since this same venue in May 2019, and as an Arrow McLaren SP driver, standing in for medically unfit rookie Oliver Askew, he hasn’t driven a non-Penske IndyCar for 21 years!
James Hinchcliffe, replacing Zach Veach in the #26 Gainbridge Andretti car, was 24th fastest.
Qualifying begins at 6.20pm local (Eastern) time, and – as with all road/street course double-headers – will see the field divided in half, and the fastest driver taking pole and earning his group the odd-numbered side of the grid.
|1||55||Alex Palou||Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh||25||1'10.177||125.117|
|2||60||Jack Harvey||Meyer Shank Racing||22||1'10.277||0.099||124.939|
|3||88||Colton Herta||Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport||23||1'10.385||0.208||124.747|
|4||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||22||1'10.432||0.255||124.664|
|6||1||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||23||1'10.530||0.353||124.490|
|7||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||29||1'10.629||0.451||124.317|
|8||5||Patricio O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||29||1'10.630||0.453||124.314|
|9||10||Felix Rosenqvist||Chip Ganassi Racing||29||1'10.633||0.455||124.310|
|10||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||23||1'10.636||0.459||124.304|
|11||98||Marco Andretti||Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajani||30||1'10.753||0.575||124.099|
|12||27||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||23||1'10.758||0.580||124.090|
|13||21||Rinus van Kalmthout||Ed Carpenter Racing||27||1'10.824||0.647||123.974|
|14||12||Will Power||Team Penske||25||1'10.838||0.660||123.950|
|15||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||25||1'10.847||0.669||123.935|
|16||18||Santino Ferrucci||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan||15||1'10.970||0.792||123.720|
|17||41||Dalton Kellett||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||26||1'11.136||0.958||123.431|
|18||20||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||25||1'11.145||0.967||123.415|
|19||8||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||26||1'11.191||1.013||123.335|
|20||30||Takuma Sato||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||28||1'11.382||1.205||123.004|
|21||4||Charlie Kimball||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||26||1'11.453||1.276||122.882|
|22||14||Sébastien Bourdais||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||26||1'11.479||1.302||122.837|
|23||7||Helio Castroneves||Arrow McLaren SP||26||1'11.626||1.449||122.585|
|24||26||James Hinchcliffe||Andretti Autosport||23||1'11.657||1.479||122.533|
|25||24||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||11||1'12.097||1.919||121.785|
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