Rinus VeeKay pulled a last-lap grasp to snatch the pole for tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.
The 21-year-old Dutchman headed into qualifying with a swing of momentum after pacing this morning’s practice session. He encountered drama in Q2 when IndyCar handed him a drive-through penalty for speeding on pit road.
He responded with a 1-minute 66.2732-second lap to break into the Fast Six as Marcus Ericsson’s off-track excursion ended the flying laps for Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta and Romain Grosjean.
That left Alexander Rossi as the lone Andretti Autosport representative in the Fast Six along with both Arrow McLaren SP cars of Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist along with VeeKay and Alex Palou.
The Firestone Fast Six kicked off with Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward setting the early bar with a lap of 1 minute 06.4003 seconds.
VeeKay replied with a whizzing lap of 1:06.2507 to unseat O’Ward and take the pole position. The pole is VeeKay’s second career pole and first for him and Ed Carpenter Racing since the Harvest Grand Prix in 2020.
O’Ward ended up second, which stands as his second straight front row start at the 2.38-mile road course. Defending race winner Palou will roll off the grid from third for the second straight year alongside Scott McLaughlin.
Alexander Rossi recovered from a deflating crash in this morning’s practice session to sail into the Fast Six and qualify fifth ahead of Felix Rosenqvist.
Three-time Barber winner Josef Newgarden will roll off seventh alongside Romain Grosjean in eighth. Completing the top ten are two-time Barber runner up Graham Rahal and Colton Herta.
Callum Illot and Juncos Hollinger Racing scored their best starting position as a whole in 11th in what has been a solid weekend for the team.
Series champions Scott Dixon and Will Power find themselves in unfamiliar positions not advancing to Q2 with Dixon ending up 13th while Power culminating in 19th – both drivers perplexed at their lack of pace.