Herta breaks pole-log jam with blazing final lap in Toronto

Herta breaks pole-log jam with blazing final lap in Toronto

Colton Herta became the first two-time pole winner this season in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and won the NTT P1 Award for the Honda Indy Toronto on Saturday.

Herta’s top time was 59.2698 seconds on his final flying lap in the Gainbridge Honda No. 26, when he added this pole to his No. 1 place at the Long Beach Acura Grand Prix in April. The first nine races of this season had a different pole winner, and Herta was happy to ruin a chance for the INDYCAR SERIES to match a record of 10 different pole winners to finish a season in 1952. to start.

TO SEE: Qualifying Results

“That was an intense session,” Herta said. “We only really found that time at the end. I was really happy with that round. It all kind of came together. The car worked great. You don’t usually see that, guys going faster on the used red tires (firestone alternative tires) rather than the new ones. Something to think about for tomorrow, but I’m happy with my Gainbridge Honda.”

The 85-lap race is scheduled for Sunday. Live, exclusive coverage of the race begins at 3 p.m. ET on Peacock Premium – with limited commercial interruptions – and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Both outlets will also do the morning warm-up session live at 10:55 am

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon joins Herta – who also led morning practice – on the front row after a best qualifying lap of 59.3592 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. It was the best non-oval qualifying performance this season for the Indianapolis 500, presented by Gainbridge pole winner Dixon, whose previous best road/street qualifying effort was fifth at the final race, the Honda Indy 200 on July 3 at the Mid-May. Ohio Sports Car Course.

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, who leads the series this season with three wins, qualified third with 59.5257 in the #2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. He will share row 2 with Alexander Rossi, who qualified fourth at 59.5544 in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda.

David Malukas was the best qualifying rookie with the career best starting finish in fifth after a 59,6140 lap in the No. 18 HMD Honda. Scott McLaughlin rounded out the Firestone Fast Six with 59.9558 in the No. 3 XPEL Team Penske Chevrolet.

Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award produced a mixed bag of results for the Astor Challenge Cup contenders as series champions on the temporary 11-corner, 1,786-mile circuit of the streets of Exhibition Place in Canada’s largest city.

Points leader and 2021 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson qualified ninth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Ericsson’s closest pursuer, 2014 series champion, Will Power, experienced a third straight event with a frustrating qualifying result. He will start 16th in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet number 12 after his last hot lap in the first qualifying session was halted when Kyle Kirkwood crashed his number 14 Sexton Properties Chevrolet at Turn 8, raising a red flag and ending the group session.

Power qualified 15th or below in the last three road races on the schedule, but has gathered to finish first and third in two of them, at Belle Isle and Mid-Ohio respectively.

“I should know that you have to stay in the top six every time because this can happen,” Power said of losing his lap over the Kirkwood incident. “I had a very fast car again. It’s crazy. That’s three races in a row that we were P2 in practice for qualifying and then between 15th and 19th. Frustrating, dude. Frustrating. I reached turn 6 and was four tenths ahead. That would have helped us through.”

Newgarden, third in points, is in good shape to potentially gain ground over Ericsson and Power with third place on Sunday.

But the next two drivers in the standings, fourth place Alex Palou and fifth place Pato O’Ward, have a lot of work to do.

Reigning series champion Palou slowed on track and retired from his qualifying group in the first session and will start 22nd out of 25 cars in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. O’Ward flipped the wall with his No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet during his first group, got no further and will start 15th.

There was a ray of hope for the eager crowd of Canadian fans, flocking back under sunny skies after this event was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Born and raised in the Toronto area, Devlin DeFrancesco qualified as the best 12th of his career in the PowerTap Honda No. 29.

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