Rinus VeeKay saved his best for last to capture pole for Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
The 21-year-old Dutchman wheeled the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet to a flying lap of 1m06.2507s in the final moments of qualifying to dethrone Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet from the top spot by 0.1496s.
“We knew we were in a good position, but to actually put it on pole is always an accomplishment,” said VeeKay, who last won the pole on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2020. “I think the whole team maximized everything. We made the right decisions with tires, setup, everything. So really good team effort. So proud of these guys, and I think it’s good. Good to put it on pole for the second time in my career.”
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) April 30, 2022
Behind the all-Chevrolet front row is the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda of Alex Palou, who will start tomorrow’s race from third – the same place he qualified when he won the event last year. Scott McLaughlin made a late charge in hopes for pole but fell short when he ran out of gas just before the finish line on the last run, qualifying fourth in the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet.
It was a remarkable rebound to qualify fifth for Alexander Rossi, who suffered a crash in second practice this morning that required an engine change to the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda. Starting alongside Rossi in the third row for tomorrow’s 90-lap race is Felix Rosenqvist, who quietly put the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet in sixth.
Qualifying began with a number of unique surprises, starting with Will Power. The driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet is a four-time pole winner at the 2.3-mile, 17-turn natural terrain road course, but struggled to find enough pace to advance out of Round 1 and was left settling with a 19th-place starting spot for tomorrow. Six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon joined Power as another notable to not advance and was left 13th.
The only incident in Round 1 came during the second group’s run out on track with rookie David Malukas going off in Turn 15 and his No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda making light contact with the barrier. The incident was in the final minute and brought out a red flag, but not before also seeing Helio Castroneves spin the No. 06 Meyer Shank Racing Honda on the exit of Turn 9. Fortunately for Castroneves, it was a clean spin with no contact with the wall.
The run of the Fast 12 also featured a red flag in the final seconds after Marcus Ericsson spun the No. 8 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda in Turn 8 and ended up stranded in the gravel trap. Unfortunately for Friday’s opening practice pace-setter Colton Herta, the incident halted his flying lap push to get into the Fast Six and left him in 11th. However, he was promoted up one spot after Ericsson lost his fastest laps – relegating him to 12th – by virtue of a penalty for bringing out a red flag.
|Position||Car No.||Driver||Lap Time||Diff. in Round|
|11||77||Callum Ilott (R)||1:07.2000||-1.0946|
|14||30||Christian Lundgaard (R)||1:06.7462||-0.5462|
|18||18||David Malukas (R)||1:06.8898||-0.6898|
|20||29||Devlin DeFrancesco (R)||1:07.0242||-0.8242|
|21||14||Kyle Kirkwood (R)||1:06.8213||-0.7924|
|25||11||Tatiana Calderon (R)||1:07.9248||-1.8959|
Up Next: Final Practice at 5:20 p.m. ET, with coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.