By: Spencer Neff
September 21, 2019 | 5:09 PM
It has been an up-and-down rookie campaign for Colton Herta. On Saturday, the Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver earned pole for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
With a best lap of 1m10.1405s (114.867 mph), he will start on pole for the third time in 2019 and the second straight race.
Alongside Herta, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon will line up on the front row as he looks to erase an 85-point deficit and win his sixth title.
In Row 2, two of Dixon’s competitors will line up beside each other, as Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi out-qualified points leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske. Heading into the 90-lap race, Rossi trails Newgarden by 41 points.
In Row 3, Arrow Schmidt Peterson’s James Hinchcliffe will start to the inside of Newgarden’s teammate Simon Pagenaud, who is 42 points behind.
Picking up where he left off in Round 1, Herta led the second round of qualifying with a best lap of 1m09.9828s (115.125 mph). Also advancing to the Fast Six were Dixon, Rossi, Newgarden, Hinchcliffe, and Pagenaud.
Missing out on the Top Six were Will Power, Graham Rahal, Ryan Hunter-Ray, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, and Santino Ferrucci. As a result, they will line up seventh through 12th on the grid tomorrow.
During the first group of 12 drivers, Newgarden led the way with a best lap of 1m10.3081 (114.593 mph), just .0017 seconds ahead of Rossi. Flipping their positions in the standings, Dixon edged out Pagenaud, with Chilton and Hunter-Reay also advancing.
Just missing out on advancing to the Fast 12 were Conor Daly, Spencer Pigot, Zach Veach, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist, and Sebastien Bourdais. After dealing with neck and back soreness yesterday, Bourdais appears to be good to go for tomorrow’s season finale.
In Group 2, Herta continued to lead the way with a best lap of 1m10.2892 (114.624), beating Power by .1597 seconds. Additionally, Ericsson, Hinchcliffe and Santino Ferrucci also advanced.
Despite running fourth, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist will not advance after interfering with Hinchcliffe’s lap due to a spin in Turn 5. As a result, Rahal took Rosenqvist’s place.
Beside Rosenqvist, Takuma Sato, Ed Jones, Charlie Kimball, Marco Andretti, and Jack Harvey also failed to advance.
Here is the schedule of on-track activity for tomorrow at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. In addition, broadcast info is included. All times are local track time (Pacific Time). Stay with Open-Wheels and our platforms for all the latest from the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.
Sunday, Sept. 22
11:30 a.m. – Driver introductions
11:30 p.m. – NBC on air
12:08 p.m. – Start engines command
12:15 p.m. – Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey (90 laps), NBC (live)
Header image by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR.