Race Weekend Central

Graham Rahal Takes 2nd Pole of 2023 in Portland

Graham Rahal will start the NTT IndyCar Series’ BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland from the pole after topping Saturday’s (Sept. 2) qualifying session. After taking the pole for the Gallagher Grand Prix in August, the 2023 season is now Rahal’s first with multiple poles since 2009.

Rahal will be joined on the front row by Scott McLaughlin. The second row on the grid will be made up of Colton Herta and Scott Dixon. Rahal was the only driver from the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team to advance beyond the first round of qualifying.

“This morning, we saved a set of blacks compared to everybody else,” Rahal told NBC Sports. “It just worked out … everybody’s pushed so hard to get our team back to this point. And it’s nice to have two poles here at the end of the year. Hopefully we can finish this deal off tomorrow, that’d be pretty sweet.

Firestone Fast Six

Rahal took the Fast Six by storm when he leapt to the provisional pole on a set of black tires, while the rest of runners took on the faster red-walled tires. At the round’s end, Rahal was up 0.0330 seconds on McLaughlin, while Pato O’Ward was 0.3542 seconds back in sixth. Alex Palou will start fifth.

See also
Carlos Sainz Takes Pole for Ferrari at Monza

Round 2

Josef Newgarden brought out the red flag by sticking his No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet in the tire barriers exiting turn 12. As a result, Newgarden lost his two fastest lap times as well as his eligibility to advance to the Firestone Fast Six.

Felix Rosenqvist was also taken out of contention prematurely owing to a mechanical failure toward the session’s end.

Eliminated from Round 2 were:

7. Will Power

8. Callum Ilott

9. Alexander Rossi

10. Marcus Ericsson

11. Rosenqvist

12. Newgarden

Round 1 Group 1

While the first round of the day played out with no major incidents on track, tempers flared as traffic became a recurring theme on the comparatively short circuit.

In particular, Romain Grosjean and Christian Lundgaard had choice words, suggesting that the traffic issues were the responsibilities of drivers who fail to vacate the racing line when not on a timed lap.

Eliminated from Round 1 Group 1 were:

13. Rinus VeeKay

15. Grosjean

17. Lundgaard

19. Ryan Hunter-Reay

21. Devlin DeFrancesco

23. Santino Ferrucci

25. Sting Ray Robb

Round 1, Group 2

Rookie Juri Vips came less than 0.1 seconds from advancing to the Fast 12 in his IndyCar debut, however he will roll off 18th in his No. 30 machine.

Benjamin Pedersen was the only victim of an on-track incident in the second group of Round 1, but suffered no penalty as he spun after the checkered flag had fallen.

Eliminated from Round 1 Group 2 were:

14. Marcus Armstrong

16. Kyle Kirkwood

18. Vips

20. Agustin Canapino

22. Helio Castroneves

24. Pedersen

26. Tom Blomqvist

2023 IndyCar Portland Qualifying Results

The BITNILE.com Grand Prix of Portland will go live at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 3, with coverage on NBC and Peacock.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via