After a 14-month absence, the NTT IndyCar series finally made it back to the hallowed grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway?
What happened today? A little bit old, and a little bit new.
On road courses, it’s still Will Power, and everyone else. I’d really like to know how many times in the Fast Six qualifying era Will Power has swooped in with a flier at the last moment and stole the soul of another driver. It happened again today, as Power knocked Jack Harvey off the top of the pylon with a lap that was almost two-tenths of a second better than Harvey, who was looking for his first career IndyCar pole. For Power, it’s old had, as he now has captured the Indy GP four times in his career. Overall, it was his 58th career pole, moving him just nine poles away from matching Mario Andretti’s IndyCar record. No doubt Harvey wanted a pole for himself and Michael Shank Racing, but his P2 starting spot is a career best.
The Champ has work to do. Power and teammate Josef Newgarden both made the Fast Six Friday, but their teammate has a lot of work to do when high noon rolls around today. Simon Pagenaud, the defending GP and, of course, Indianapolis 500 champion, couldn’t find the speed and could only manage a P10 showing in his qualifying group. That means the Frenchman will start 20th on the grid today. If he needs some inspiration, though, he can look back to 2018 and Scott Dixon battling from a P18 starting position to a P2 finish.
Keep an eye on Askew. Rookie Oliver Askew was quick all day before running out of grip during the Fast Six. He will start fifth today in his second IndyCar start. He won’t be the youngest driver near the head of the field, though, as 20-year-old Colton Herta will start P3. Herta started fourth last year in the GP but finished 23rd, then dropped out of the Indy 500 in the opening laps to finish P33. He’s looking to get some positive IMS mojo going.
Predictions: I’m changing the predictions I made on The Rumble Strip podcast this week and I am going with Will Power to win, Askew to finish second and Conor Daly to finish third.
Rumble Strip Podcast
Speaking of, have you listened to this week’s podcast? Co-host Eric Hall and I talk about the latest IndyCar news, as well as our thoughts on the GP and the new and improved IMS under the leadership of Roger Penske. You can listen to it here on SoundCloud, and you can also find it on iTunes, Podbean and iHeart Radio.
Photo credit: John Cote/IndyCar Media