Record Pole For Herta At Road America

Colton Herta with a record setting pole run at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

Colton Herta with a record setting pole run at Road America. [John Wiedemann Photo]

by Paul Gohde

NTT IndyCar Qualifying:

It took three rounds of knock-out qualifying for the NTT IndyCar Series to determine who will start where in Sunday’s Rev Group Grand Prix at Road America, and when the tire smoke cleared Colton Herta had become the youngest driver in series’ history to capture the pole at just 19-years-old. The Harding Steinbrenner rookie, who had already won a series’ race at COTA in spring, bested Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi with an all-out lap, patiently waiting on pit road while the other drivers fought for the pole. “Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay help me out pretty much. We’ve been in the Fast Six pretty much this season and I just had to wait for Rossi to be done before I took my fast lap.” And that lap,140.306 mph just edged Rossi who did 140.065.

“Herta is doing a great job this year. It’s good for the (Road to Indy) ladder series for (car) owners to see that it works,” explained Josef Newgarden who will start fourth for Team Penske and who came to IndyCar after climbing that same ladder. “I had a third or fourth place car from the get-go. Even in this heat we were within striking distance of where we wanted to be.”

Will Power will share the second row with Penske teammate Joe New, while Rahal Letterman Lanigan teammates Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato will make up row three as Honda captured seven of the first ten spots on tomorrow’s grid.

Rahal, who had previously been the series’ youngest pole winner, made a quick recovery after spinning out during the morning practice session. “To make the Fast Six was a great recovery after my incident this morning. To qualify near the front here makes things easier (tomorrow).”

And as for Herta, he agreed that the Road to Indy ladder was a great help to him, especially at a long track like Road America. “This is one of the best tracks in North America, maybe the world. It’s important that we’ve seen the tracks before we get to IndyCar. It helps us get on pace sooner.”

And he was on the fastest pace here today.

Indy Lights/Race 1:

Coming from his second starting spot and surviving a three-wide run to the first turn at the start, Andretti Autosport driver Ryan Norman held off a late-race charge by teammate Robert Megennis to take Race 1 of the Indy Lights Series at Elkhart Lake’s Road America Saturday.
Norman, who led 18/20 laps, took the lead for good on lap three, said sticking to the team’s race strategy helped him to remain competitive to the end. “The point is to conserve tires here,” he noted. “It’s our third year racing here at Road America and the course is hard on tires. It’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you.” But the Ohio native stretched his lead and held serve over Megennis, who passed Wisconsin native Aaron Telitz with just three laps remaining, to nab the second step on the podium.

“I agree with Ryan, you have to do a lot to save your tires until the end; you’ve got to think “end of the race” during the first 10-15 laps,” Norman’s Andretti teammate added.

Telitz, who managed to lead one lap while fighting Megennis for second, started sixth for Belardi Racing and said he didn’t save tires if he wanted to mix it up at the front. “I needed to be aggressive early, but my tires did fall off some and Robert got past me for second,” said the Rice Lake native. “It feels better than any other race, other than my Pro Mazda championship, to do well here.”

And winner Norman has something to look forward to, as he will test an Indy car for his Andretti Autosport team at Mid-Ohio next week.” I’m trying to move up to the IndyCar Series and even though they may not have room for me, the test will be helpful.”

REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR qualifying results
ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Qualifying Saturday for the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR NTT IndyCar Series event on the 4.014-mile Road America, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:
1. (88) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:42.9920 (140.306 mph)
2. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:43.1693 (140.065)
3. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:43.3749 (139.786)
4. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:43.6036 (139.478)
5. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:43.8076 (139.204)
6. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:43.8790 (139.108)
7. (18) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 1:43.2989 (139.889)
8. (21) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 1:43.3083 (139.876)
9. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:43.3814 (139.778)
10. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 1:43.3945 (139.760)
11. (20) Ed Jones, Chevrolet, 1:43.5162 (139.596)
12. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, No Time (No Speed)
13. (31) Patricio O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:43.6061 (139.474)
14. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 1:43.4488 (139.686)
15. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:43.6980 (139.351)
16. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:43.4764 (139.649)
17. (7) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:43.8913 (139.092)
18. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 1:43.5038 (139.612)
19. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:44.6179 (138.126)
20. (4) Matheus Leist, Chevrolet, 1:43.8570 (139.137)
21. (19) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 1:49.3060 (132.201)
22. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:43.8745 (139.114)
23. (14) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 1:44.4183 (138.390)

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