Race Weekend Central

Graham Rahal Earns 1st Pole Since 2017 at Gallagher GP

Graham Rahal took the pole for Saturday’s (Aug. 12) Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is his first pole since 2017, when he started first in the first race of the Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader.

“It means a lot, you know for Code 3 Associates and to get them on pole and this entire team,” Rahal said. “Everybody has seen it and we’ve had to work ridiculously hard to get back, and this isn’t a win but it feels like that for us, I think everyone can imagine that. It just feels nice to feel competitive and push and get something out of the car.”

It’s a celebratory return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team and their driver Rahal, after a dreadful May in which all cars were in the Last Row Shootout. Unfortunately for Rahal, he was bumped by teammate Jack Harvey’s final run.

Tomorrow, it will be a RLLR front row, as Christian Lundgaard will start next to Rahal. Alexander Rossi, who finished third in May, is on the inside of row two, with teammate Pato O’Ward fourth. Row three will be Devlin DeFrancesco, with his best qualifying effort in his career and teammate Romain Grosjean alongside. 

Teams struggled with finding the right performance on the harder, alternate tires that differ from the ones used in May. And it proved especially challenging for the title contenders. Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden were unable to make it into the Firestone Fast Six. Palou will roll off ninth tomorrow, and will have reasonable breathing room to Newgarden who will chase him from 19th.

Announced prior to qualifying, Helio Castroneves, Harvey, and David Malukas were hit with six position grid penalties for changing motors beyond the four allowed per a year.

Firestone Fast Six

1. Rahal

2. Lundgaard

3. Rossi

4. O’Ward

5. DeFrancesco

6. Grosjean

See also
Helio Castroneves Retiring From Full Time After 2023, Tom Blomqvist to Drive in 2024

Round 2

Grosjean had an off early in the session, but was able to continue. DeFrancesco continued a great run to make it to his first Firestone Fast Six. Championship leader Palou qualified ninth pending the grid penalty for Harvey.

“(We were missing) a little bit of everything,” Palou said after his run. “Honestly we had a great car, just missed a little bit of speed and also didn’t really nail the lap, and here you lose a lot of positions if you don’t nail the lap.”

7. Marcus Armstrong (his best qualifying effort in his rookie year)

8. Harvey (grid penalty pending)

9. Palou

10. Felix Rosenqvist

11. Scott McLaughlin

12. Castroneves (grid penalty pending)

Round 1 Group 1

Newgarden was unable to advance out of his group, continuing his struggles with pace from practice earlier in the morning. The Penske driver showed visible frustrations during the qualifying broadcast and will have to chase Palou from 19th tomorrow. The last time Newgarden had been at Indianapolis, he won the Indianapolis 500. His teammate Will Power, who has earned six poles at the IMS road course was also unable to advance. Only McLaughlin was able to get out for the Penske trio.

Arrow McLaren, who had two cars finish on the podium in May, made it to the second round with all three cars. DeFrancesco will compete in his third Second Round qualifying session of his career.

13. Colton Herta

15. Kyle Kirkwood

17. Power

19. Newgarden

21. Santino Ferrucci

23. Malukas (grid penalty pending)

25. Sting Ray Robb

Round 1 Group 2

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Lundgaard and Rahal maintained their pace from practice to make Round 2. Castroneves, fresh off his announcement he will no long drive full-time next year in IndyCar, advanced to his first Fast 12 this year. However he will have to deal with a grid penalty.

14. Linus Lundqvist

16. Scott Dixon

18. Marcus Ericsson

20. Rinus VeeKay

22. Ryan Hunter-Reay

24. Agustin Canapino

26. Benjamin Pedersen

2023 IndyCar Gallagher Grand Prix Qualifying Results

The 2023 Gallagher Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will kick off tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 12 at 2 PM ET on USA Network and Peacock.

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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