Sunday, June 4, 2023

Colton Herta Rockets to Pole for the Honda Indy Toronto

Colton Herta claimed pole in Toronto.
Colton Herta backed up his performance in second practice with pole in qualifying for the Honda Indy Toronto. Image courtesy of Chris Jones / Penske Entertainment

Colton Herta continued the theme of being quickest on Saturday by claiming pole for the Honda Indy Toronto.

The 22-year-old California native put down a sensational flying lap of 59.2698s (108.480 mph) around the tight 11-turn, 1.786-mile street circuit at Exhibition Place to take the top spot. The result makes Herta the first multi pole winner of 2022, which comes in the 10th race of the NTT IndyCar Series season. It also marks the ninth pole of Herta’s career.

Six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon ended up second, with his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda a narrow 0.0894s behind.

“Yeah, it’s been a good weekend for us,” Dixon said. “I think all the cars rolled off really well. It was just trying to keep up with the track was a little bit of it. Q3 was good. Probably over-attacked on the last lap there, lost quite a bit of time in six. There’s always things you can improve.

“Congrats to Colton, it was a great lap. Looking forward to starting close up to the front and hopefully have a clean day.”

After an engine change following mechanical issue at the start of second practice, Josef Newgarden rebounded to put the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet in third. Alexander Rossi, who led opening practice on Friday, ended up fourth in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda.

Rookie David Malukas made his first-ever appearance in the Firestone Fast Six, putting in a stout run to end up fifth in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports Honda. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was sixth.

The No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet of rookie Callum Ilott ended up seventh. Arrow McLaren SP’s Felix Rosenqvist and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Marcus Ericsson was eighth and ninth, respectively. Rookie Christian Lundgaard put the No. 30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda in 10th.

Romain Grosjean claimed 11th, with rookie Devlin DeFrancesco putting together the best qualifying performance of his season and placing the No. 29 Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport Honda in 12th.

Notable drivers that endured a rough outing includes Pato O’Ward, Graham Rahal, Alex Palou and Will Power.

For Rahal, who has shown exceptional pace throughout the two practice sessions, it was especially tough as he ended up knocked out of Round 1 (Group 2) in unusual circumstances. DeFrancesco was quickest in the session at the time he went nose-first into the tire barrier in Turn 3. However, the red flag was brought out when reigning series champion Alex Palou stopped on course. Race officials didn’t penalize DeFrancesco on the incident, which kept Rahal as the first driver to miss out on advancing. Rahal will start tomorrow’s race 14th.

Palou’s issue appeared to be mechanical and forced him out early, leaving him 22nd.

O’Ward ended up a quiet 15th, not really showing anything in a bizarre round qualifying for the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet group.

Power was on a flyer that appeared on pace to advance out of Round 1 (Group 2), but was behind on track as rookie Kyle Kirkwood spun out of the final corner trying to make a last-gasp effort in the No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. The incident halted any remaining running and Power’s opportunity to advance, leaving him to start 16th on Sunday.

Up Next: The final session of the weekend is on Sunday with a morning warm-up at 10:55 a.m. ET, with live coverage on Peacock and the IndyCar Radio Network.

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