By: Spencer Neff
June 22, 2019 | 4:56 PM
Throughout the Rev Group Grand Prix weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Colton Herta has been among the fastest in the field.
On Saturday afternoon, he again proved his mettle by dominating qualifying and earning the NTT P1 Award at the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course. During all three of his qualifying rounds, Herta was the fastest driver.
With a blistering lap of 1m42.992s (140.306 mph), the Harding Steinbrenner Racing rookie earned the first pole of his career as well as the team’s first.
Previously, Herta and HSR had earned the best qualifying effort of fourth. They have accomplished that on three occasions in 2019 (Circuit of The Americas, IndyCar Grand Prix and Belle Isle Race 2).
With the pole, Herta becomes the youngest pole sitter in series history at 19 years, 84 days old. On March 24, Herta won the IndyCar Classic at COTA and became the series’ youngest race winner. Now, here’s a look at all three rounds of qualifying.
Herta and Rossi continue to lead the way during Fast Six
Tomorrow, Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi will lineup alongside Herta on the front row. After missing his third pole of 2019 by 0.1773 seconds, Rossi earned a front row start for the fifth time in 10 races this year.
With their engines powering both front row starters, Honda earned their fifth front row lockout of the season.
In third, 2016 pole and race winner Team Penske’s Will Power leads the Chevrolet entries. After winning from pole at Road America in 2018, Power’s teammate Josef Newgarden qualified fourth.
Finishing out the Fast Six in qualifying are Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato. For the race, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates will share Row 3. Prior to the Fast Six, drivers faced an intense Round 2 of qualifying to try to run for the pole.
Competitive field underscores Round 2
During the second round of qualifying, the action proved to be fierce. Although Herta and Rossi have dominated the weekend, the gap between the field is scant.
First among those knocked out in Round 2 would be Sebastien Bourdais. The Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan driver missed out on the Firestone Fast Six by a narrow 0.6116 seconds over Rahal and starts seventh.
Qualifying in positions 8-12 were Spencer Pigot, James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti, Ed Jones and Scott Dixon. Some surprise drivers were able to advance into Round 2. Conversely, several major contenders saw issues in Round 1 that prevented them from advancing.
Trouble for contenders in Round 1
In the Group 1 portion of the first round, Patricio O’Ward, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marcus Ericsson, Jack Harvey and Santino Ferrucci were eliminated. When the field rolls off the grid, these six drivers will start on the inside lane.
During the session, Ferrucci was penalized for stopping in the grass on the frontstretch. Although this did not initiate a red flag, a local yellow was called and Ferrucci was penalized his quickest lap.
Unfortunately, Scott Dixon’s effort to transfer into Round 2 was all for naught.
As the 12 minue-round ended, smoke began to appear from the back of his Chip Ganassi Racing entry. Although Dixon will have a fresh Honda engine for the race, he did not run in the second round and starts 12th.`
For Group 2, the drivers who did not advance included Zach Veach, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist, Matheus Leist, Max Chilton and Tony Kanaan. Tomorrow, those drivers will start the race on the outside lane.
Sunday’s 55-lap race will have NBC carrying the coverage with a start time of 12:00 PM Eastern.
The green flag is expected to drop at approximately 12:43 PM Eastern time, and you can also catch the race on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network by visiting RaceControl.IndyCar.com.
Additionally, the site provides live timing and scoring during each on-track session.
All NTT IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 219, XM 202, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.
Stay tuned to Open-Wheels for more coverage of this weekend’s REV Group Grand Prix.
Header Image By Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR