By: Spencer Neff
July 13, 2019 | 2:33 PM
In what has already been an impressive weekend for Simon Pagenaud, he picked up his second pole of 2019 for Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto. With a best lap of 58.4293 seconds (110.041 mph), the Indianapolis 500 winner earned his first pole since that race.
For his career, this is the 2016 IndyCar Series Champion’s 12th career pole and second overall at Toronto. In 2017, he also started up front.
Last year, Pagenaud earned his career-best finish at the 1.785-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place temporary street circuit by finishing second. Joining Pagenaud on the front row will be three-time Toronto winner Scott Dixon. Last year, Dixon won this race after starting second.
Also joining them in the Fast Six were Felix Rosenqvist, Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden and Ed Jones. Although Pagenaud has led the way for most of the weekend, the action has been intense.
Newgarden finds speed in Round 2
Early in the weekend, Simon Pagenaud appeared to be carrying the proverbial torch for Team Penske. In Round 2 of qualifying, that all began to change.
With a lap of 58.4129, two-time race winner Josef Newgarden posted the quickest time of the session. By running a lap speed of 110.072 mph, the 2017 Series Champion and current points leader was also the first driver above 110 mph during the weekend.
Just missing out on the Fast Six were Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot, Takuma Sato, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal.
Jones surprises as Power and Hinchcliffe among those eliminated in Round 1
In the first group, Rosenqvist continued to show his quick pace. Leading the six drivers who advanced to Round 2, the two-time Indy Lights winner at Toronto (both in 2016), he turned a best lap of 58.7306 seconds.
While Rosenqvist’s continued success this weekend was to be expected, Group 1 of first round qualifying did feature some surprises.
For the first time since Long Beach in 2015, Will Power was eliminated in Round 1 of qualifying. After posting the group’s eighth-fastest time (59.5508), Power will start 15th on Sunday.
Including Power, the drivers eliminated in Group 1 were Max Chilton, Santino Ferrucci, Matheus Leist and Sage Karam. For Sunday, those drivers will start on the inside of rows 7-11.
During Group 2, Ed Jones surprised many by posting the fastest time of the session. With a best lap of 58.6011, the Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa driver was the fastest in Round 1.
As was the case in Group 1, there were a few surprises. Hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe was not able to advance and will start 14th in tomorrow’s race.
Along with Hinchcliffe, Colton Herta, Zach Veach, Marcus Ericsson and Tony Kanaan were also eliminated. For tomorrow, they will start on the outside of rows 8-11.
Although both sessions were run without stoppages, Ericsson suffered a bent toe link on the suspension of his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry.
Sunday’s 85-lap race will have NBCSN carrying television coverage with a start time of 12:00 PM Eastern.
The green flag is expected to drop at approximately 3:43 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 Honda Indy Toronto.
Header Image By Jesse Elliott/Open-Wheels