Monday, September 26, 2022

VeeKay Storms to Pole for Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama


Rinus Veekay scores pole at HIGPA
Rinus VeeKay captured the second pole of his NTT IndyCar Series career on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park. Image courtesy of Chris Jones / Penske Entertainment

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.”

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.

PositionCar No.DriverLap TimeDiff. in Round
121Rinus Veekay1:06.2507
25Pato O'Ward1:06.4003-0.1496
310Alex Palou1:06.4415-0.1908
43Scott McLaughlin1:06.4967-0.2460
527Alexander Rossi1:06.5549-0.3042
67Felix Rosenqvist1:06.6410-0.3903
72Josef Newgarden1:06.3348-0.2294
828Romain Grosjean1:06.3820-0.2766
915Graham Rahal1:06.6339-0.5285
1026Colton Herta1:06.7295-0.6241
1177Callum Ilott (R)1:07.2000-1.0946
128Marcus Ericsson1:07.3561-1.2507
139Scott Dixon1:06.5142-0.4853
1430Christian Lundgaard (R)1:06.7462-0.5462
1545Jack Harvey1:06.6511-0.6222
1606Helio Castroneves1:06.8183-0.6138
1751Takuma Sato1:06.7541-0.7252
1818David Malukas (R)1:06.8898-0.6898
1912Will Power1:06.7775-0.7486
2029Devlin DeFrancesco (R)1:07.0242-0.8242
2114Kyle Kirkwood (R)1:06.8213-0.7924
2220Conor Daly1:07.0350-0.8350
234Dalton Kellett1:07.6869-1.6580
2460Simon Pagenaud1:07.1052-0.9052
2511Tatiana Calderon (R)1:07.9248-1.8959
2648Jimmie Johnson1:09.0075-2.8075

Up Next: Final Practice at 5:20 p.m. ET, with coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.

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