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VeeKay fulfills prediction with NTT P1 Award at Barber

VeeKay fulfills prediction with NTT P1 Award at Barber

Rinus VeeKay came into Barber Motorsports Park this weekend thinking he would be fast.

He turned out to be right.

VeeKay earned his second career NTT P1 Award, taking first place on Saturday for the Honda Indy Alabama Grand Prix presented by AmFirst with a top lap of 1 minute 6.2507 seconds in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet from Ed Carpenter Racing. His previous pole came in October 2020 for Race 1 of the Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race course.

SEE: Qualifying Results

“I thought we had potential,” said VeeKay. “It was a chaotic session. We knew we were in a good position, but to actually put it on pole was an achievement. I think the whole team maximized everything. We made the right decisions with tires, setup, everything.

“Confidence is great. I think we can have a great race from here and definitely fight for the win.”

The 90-lap race kicks off Sunday at 1:15 PM ET, with live coverage from NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Team Penske’s drivers have won the first three races of the season, with Scott McLaughlin winning the season opener in St. Petersburg and Josef Newgarden winning in Texas and Long Beach.

VeeKay became the fourth different NTT P1 Award winner in as many races this season. Pato O’Ward will join him on the front row after a best lap of 1:06.4003 during the Firestone Fast Six in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. O’Ward’s previous best starting finish this season was 10th on the Texas oval.

Reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion and 2021 Barber winner Alex Palou will start third after a fast lap of 1:06.4415 in the No. 10 The American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. McLaughlin joins him in the second row after a best lap of 1:06.4967 in the #3 Sonsio Team Penske Chevrolet.

Alexander Rossi qualified fifth to equal the best of the season with a lap time of 1:06.5549 in the No.27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda. But this effort was probably far more satisfying for Andretti Autosport and Rossi than his fifth-place finish earlier this month at the Long Beach Acura Grand Prix, as crews from all four Andretti teams rushed to fix or repair the entire back half of Rossi’s. to replace. car in two hours, 45 minutes after crashing during morning practice.

Felix Rosenqvist starts sixth after his best lap of 1:06.6410 in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Arrow McLaren SP was the only team with more than one car in the Firestone Fast Six.

Series points leader Newgarden will start seventh in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, after falling less than two hundredths of a second to earn a spot in the Firestone Fast Six.

Callum Ilott was the best rookie qualifier, taking a career-best 11th place in the Juncos Hollinger Racing No. 77 Chevrolet. Ilott and a handful of other drivers drove faster final laps at the end of the second qualifying lap as Marcus Ericsson drove into the gravel in his Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda No. 8, raised a red flag and ended the session.

Three former series champions will have to work overtime to get to the front on Sunday’s tight, 17-turn, 2.3-mile circuit after disappointing qualifying results.

Six-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Scott Dixon qualified 13th in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while 2014 series champion Will Power will start 19th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. 2016 title winner Simon Pagenaud endured a tough Saturday and qualified 24th in the No. 60 Auto Nation/Sirius XM Honda.

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