Race Weekend Central

Colton Herta Wins 2nd Straight IndyCar Pole at Mid-Ohio

Colton Herta will start from the pole position for Sunday’s (July 2) NTT IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. 

Herta’s team made the call to use the primary black tires, and it worked in his favor.

“It was a tough call (going to blacks),” Herta said. “It seemed like reds and blacks were pretty close on second runs. It wasn’t an easy one but they gave me a good car that was good on both tire compounds so we had the option to run both. The Gainbridge Honda was flying, and real happy to get two in a row.”

This is Herta’s first race with new race strategist, Rob Edwards, who replaced Scott Harner. At the previous race at Road America, Herta had a shot to win the race, but was called into the pits one lap earlier than the rest of the leaders and had to save fuel the last stint on the four mile road course.

Ohio native Graham Rahal will start second, his first front row start in four years. The Rahal team has a long history at the track, dating to when the team’s namesake Bobby Rahal raced for Trusports and Jim Truman who owned Mid-Ohio in the 1980s. 

The rest of the top six was Kyle Kirkwood, championship leader Alex Palou, Christian Lundgaard, and six-time Mid-Ohio winner Scott Dixon.

Prior to the start of qualifying, Simon Pagenaud was not cleared to drive after his morning practice crash that saw him flip multiple times. The Frenchman was able to walk away from the wreck. In case Pagenaud is not cleared by IndyCar medical personnel, NBC Sports reported that Conor Daly, who was released from his ride at Ed Carpenter Racing before the Road America race, is on stand-by to drive tomorrow. 

Firestone Fast Six

Herta snatched the pole away from Rahal on the last timed lap, taking his eleventh career pole. Rahal, who has struggled this year, including missing the Indy 500, has his best start of the season and at the track in which he won at in 2015.

1. Herta

2. Rahal

3. Kirkwood

4. Palou

5. Lundgaard

6. Dixon

See also
Simon Pagenaud Flips in IndyCar Practice at Mid-Ohio

Round 2

Championship leader Palou was able to squeak into the Firestone Fast Six. Teammates Rahal and Lundgaard, both in need of positive results, made it to the final round.

Team Penske drivers Will Power and Scott McLaughlin both missed advancing and will start together in row four.

2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who is 74 points behind teammate Palou in the standings, was unable to make up ground and gain the point for winning the pole. He will start ninth.

7. Power

8. McLaughlin

9. Ericsson

10. Felix Rosenqvist

11. Jack Harvey

12. David Malukas 

Round 1 Group 1

Early in the session, Arrow Mclaren driver Pato O’Ward spun in while he was atop the leaderboard. The red flag came out for the driver fourth in the championship standings and took away his two fastest laps and prevented him from advancing. He will start 25th. 

This left slightly less than six minutes for the rest of the group to put red, alternate tires on and run. 

Team Penske driver and two-time Mid-Ohio winner Josef Newgarden was unable to advance out of the session. The American, who is third in the championship, will start 15th.

Harvey and Malukas, who stated Friday that he was unlikely to return to Dale Coyne Racing, advanced to Round 2. 

13. Alexander Rossi

15. Newgarden

17. Ryan Hunter-Reay

19. Helio Castroneves

21. Agustin Canapino

23. Benjamin Pedersen

25. O’Ward

27. Pagenaud (did not run a lap)

Round 1 Group 2

Andretti Autosport had two of its cars advance, but the real story was that all three Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing cars will compete in Round 2.

14. Romain Grosjean

16. Rinus VeeKay

18. Marcus Armstrong

20. Callum Ilott

22. Sting Ray Robb

24. Devlin Defrancesco

26. Santino Ferrucci

IndyCar Qualifying Results at Mid-Ohio

About the author

Tom is an IndyCar writer at Frontstretch, joining in March 2023. He also works full-time for the Department of Veterans Affairs History Office and is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. A native Hoosier, he's followed IndyCar closely since 1991 and calls Fort Wayne home. Follow Tom on Twitter @TomBlackburn42.

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