Harding Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta in the No.88 Capstone Honda was delighted after securing his third pole position of the season at the season ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Valencia native set a fastest time of 01:10.1405s and starts the race just ahead of defending champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Speaking about his run Herta said:

Yeah, it obviously means a lot with the family history. “Fifty percent of (my father’s) Indy car wins came here. It means a lot to kind of keep on the family tradition.” Honestly, going into (morning practice) I thought maybe we lacked a little bit, and we didn’t have quite as big of a gap (to others),” he said. “We were (seventh) and we needed to find a little bit of time, so I was going to be happy to make it into the Fast Six. That would be an improvement, but we got there and we led every (qualifying) group we were in.

Scott Dixon set a time of 01:10.1831s and speaking following the session the Iceman said:

It was definitely a good recovery for us. We’d been struggling a little bit all weekend. I’d just been struggling to get the time out of the new tires. Felix has been doing a fantastic job. I don’t know the total scenario there, but I think he would have fought hard and had a really good shot at getting the pole. He’s been quick all weekend. But that’s the way it rolls. I think we did a good job. I know our second run pace on used tires had been really good all weekend, it was just I hadn’t been able to get the speed out of the new ones. It was a nice surprise, and you know, in a good position. We’ll just have to see how it rolls tomorrow.”

Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda goes into today’s race 41 points behind leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske and speaking following the session the Californian said:

We’ve had a pretty challenging two-and-a-half days for the (No.) 27 NAPA Andretti Honda group – really the Andretti Autosport group as a whole. We had peaks and valleys, but it came good this afternoon for the most part. It’s tough when you miss out by seven-hundredths. You can find a lot of places in a lap where you give that up. We just have to keep working at it and come up with a good race car strategy for tomorrow.”

Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet starts four place which is where he needs to finish today in order to win his second title. Speaking about his run the Tenneesee native said:

Yeah, I mean, in our situation it’s a good thing to be close to the competition, specifically the ones in the championship. Yeah, we’ve got to have a good clean run tomorrow. You’d like to win every race and maybe we’ve got a race-winning car tomorrow. It certainly feels like we have the capability of it. But we need to have a good clean day, try and not get caught up in anything, and just run our race like we normally would. I think that’s what we’ll try and focus on.”

Following a difficult season which sees him go into the final race of the year in 12th place in the  championship, James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arroe Electronics Honda has something to smile about as he starts today’s race from fifth and speaking following the session he said:

Obviously I think everyone on the Arrow car is thrilled to be on the Firestone Fast 6 this weekend, it’s been a tough log up to this last point. The test day wasn’t super productive for us and unfortunately then, over Friday and this morning, we were thrown all sorts of set up changes at the car. I’ve been having to learn how to drive a different car every session. We never gave up and huge credit to the engineers, and everybody, for keeping their heads down and coming up with the setup at the end of Practice 3 this morning, which was something we could work with and got two of our cars out of Round 1 of Qualifying, then to get into the Firestone Fast 6. I think if you would have told us that before this day started, we wouldn’t believe you. Proud of the Arrow guys, I want to try to end this season on a high note. We’ve had a rough run of luck the last few weeks and it would be nice to go into the off season with a strong result.

Championship contender Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 DXC Technology Chevrolet starts the race from sixth place just ahead of his team mate Will Power and speaking following the session the Indianapolis 500 winner said:

We were on a good lap and I just made a mistake. I just seriously made a mistake. The second lap obviously was not good enough. It was about three hundredths off. It’s just frustrating man – frustrating man. We just weren’t good enough to make the Fast Six today. We’ve not been the quickest of the weekend, but we’ve kind of been in that area of where we qualified. We will go into tomorrow and try and help the team get a championship and try and win the race in the process.”

Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet commented saying:

We were on a good lap and I just made a mistake. I just seriously made a mistake. The second lap obviously was not good enough. It was about three hundredths off. It’s just frustrating man – frustrating man. We just weren’t good enough to make the Fast Six today. We’ve not been the quickest of the weekend, but we’ve kind of been in that area of where we qualified. We will go into tomorrow and try and help the team get a championship and try and win the race in the process.”

Fresh from announcing a new agreement with Honda, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 Iunited Rentals Honda starts the race from eighth place and speaking following the action Graham said:

“I thought it was a good run. We were lucky to squeak through in the first round after Felix’s issue but were able to make the most of it. We refined the car a little bit and missed advancing to the Fast Six by two-hundredths of a second – and two-hundredths of a second around here is nothing. We should have advanced, but I made a mistake. I was on a really good lap, I was on a four (1:10.4 lap time) which would have comfortably advanced us but I just screwed up going into the corkscrew, tried to roll too much speed, got too much understeer and ruined the lap. But at the end of the day, we’re right here at the sharp end of the grid with the good guys and I think we found some good stuff that will get us excited for next year.”

Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda starts ninth and speaking following the session he said:

It was a missed opportunity, really. We went first in the first group there and I think with some of the Porsche rubber down, the car was really loose. We decided to go a bit more conservative for the second group and it didn’t pay off. The track rubbered up with the Firestone Indy car rubber and it really gripped the rear up – I was struggling with understeer. I had to get out of it in a couple of corners to keep it on the racetrack. We missed the cut off by nine-hundredths of a second. It’s that close and it was a really messy lap. To miss the cutoff by that much is unfortunate. We just missed the target there but hopefully tomorrow we get this (No.) 28 DHL Honda up front and fighting for the win. And hopefully, Andretti Autosport leaves with a championship as well.”

Max Chilton in the No.59 Gallagher Chevrolet  for Carlin Racing rounded out the top ten with a 01:10.7257s and speaking following the session he said:

It was a great day all around for us and the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We were leading FP3 (Practice 3) for quite a while and ended the session in sixth this morning, so then you’ve got the pressure to do it again in qualifying. We finished the first round 10th, which I was happy with and I knew I could do a better lap. We had a slightly different strategy for the second round of qualifying and we were the first car to go out on reds, which was good because I had clean track. We did a really good banker lap, which I knew probably wouldn’t be enough to get me through, so I just went all out. I was up a tenth until turn four, but on the exit I just lost the car. I think we had a car quick enough to make it into the Firestone Fast Six if I could’ve gotten it all together, but it’s just so close out there so it’s really just about getting everything right on the same lap.”

Marcus Ericsson in the No.7 Arrow Electronics Honda for Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports starts 11th and speaking following the action he said:

“I think it was a pretty good session. I think the first round went really well and we advanced to the second round, which was really good. On the blacks, we were P2, we were looking really good to go into the Firestone Fast Six as well, but then unfortunately on the red during the end of Qualifying 2, I put a wheel off and didn’t get a clean lap. It’s disappointing because I think we could have been in the Fast Six today, but in 11th we can still race from there. I think these last couple of days we have improved the car constantly every session and I think we have a really good race car for tomorrow. A bit disappointing with the end result of qualifying, but I think we have a good chance tomorrow.”

Santino Ferrucci was left disappointed as he starts the race from 12th for Dale Coyne Racing and speaking following the session he said:

I’m disappointed with our qualifying effort today. The No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing car has been good all weekend and while it was nice to make it into the Fast 12, we had a car capable of moving on to the Firestone Fast 6. Everything was going well and we were working a good lap, but I drove off track in Turn 6 and that cost us our chance to advance. We’ll have some work to do tomorrow to move up, but we’ll do our best to end the season with a strong result.”

Conor Daly in the No.25 US Air Force Honda for Andretti Autosport starts 13th and speaking following the session he said:

We just missed it by a little bit. We’ve really, really struggled with this car all weekend long, sadly. But the team has been working with me really well and I appreciate the opportunity. This is one of the most important weekends of my life, so it’s unfortunate that we missed it by a little bit. All I get to do is just live my life one session at a time so it’s really hard to do that – it’s a shame. The race is a totally different animal, the tires are wearing a lot here so it will be interesting. We’ll be starting in the middle of the field, so just hope that everyone will be smart. Hopefully we can find a little bit of luck and maybe make something out of it.”

Felix Rosenqvist iin the No.10 NTT DATA Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing was left fuming after his two fastest laps were deleted for impeding James Hinchcliffe and as a result he starts the race from 14th place.

Speaking after qualifying he said:

“(Reacting to his fastest two laps being disallowed and not being able to advance to the next round due to a rules violation) We were working for three days for this moment and we had the fastest time on track and the guys have just been doing an incredible job.”

Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot in the No.21 Chevrolet starts 15th and speaking following the session he said:

Overall, it was certainly not the qualifying we wanted. It’s going to be a tough race. We’ll see what we can do with strategy and try to pass some cars on the start. We definitely need to make some improvements for tomorrow and hopefully move forward.”

Takuma Sato in the No.30 ABeam Consulting Honda starts from 16th with a time of 01:10.8393s and speaking following the session he said:

It was a tough session. It’s a tight field and not really what we expected out of qualifying. We made good progress through all of the practice sessions. Our performance was moving up all the time, but unfortunately the car felt a little disconnected in qualifying. It was tough. In the end we lost advancing to the next segment by three-hundredths (of a second), so it’s a pity. Everyone is in the same situation, it was the hottest day and challenging. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to the next round, but I believe we have a strong car.”

Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda starts 17th and speaking following the action he said:

It’s a little frustrating. We had something that was really good, but it kept visiting us at the wrong times. Any session that didn’t matter, we had a really good car and just tried to make it a little bit better. We just went past the tipping point for qualifying. This is kind of the way our season has been going but we’re trying our hardest to turn things around. We’ll get there!”

Ed Jones in the No.20 Sonax Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing is 18th with a time of 01:10.9806s and speaking following the session he said:

It’s been a tough weekend so far, but I think we made some progress in each of the sessions. Eighteenth on the grid is certainly not where we want to be, but race strategies are going to be quite different. Hopefully we can make something happen and end the season on a high.”

Sebastien Bourdais starts 19th for Dale Coyne with Vasser Sullivan Racing and speaking following the session he said:

“It’s been a difficult 24 hours with everything that has gone on. In qualifying, I didn’t put the lap together. It’s on me. I didn’t start early enough and made a mistake on the first timed lap on the reds (Firestone alternate tire). Then on the second try I came short by about three tenths. Starting where we are is not physically ideal for me right now, but the No. 18 SealMaster Honda is better than where we qualified so we’ll just have to see what we can do tomorrow.”

Charlie Kimball in the No.23 Tresiba Chevrolet starts the race from 20th just ahead of Tony Kanaan and speaking following the session he said:

“I’m really disappointed with qualifying honestly. I think we showed much better pace all weekend and Max proved that the Carlin cars could get it done, so I’m just a little confused with where the lap time was or wasn’t in this case. All it took was a couple of tenths and we would’ve transferred. It just shows how competitive the series is around here at Laguna Seca and really overall. I know we’ve got a good race car in the No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet and we’ve got plenty of good strategy to dial up for tomorrow’s race.”

Tony Kanaan in the No.14 ABC Supply Chevrolet commented saying:

“We’ve been fighting a lack of grip all weekend and we haven’t been able to find it, so it’s obviously a bit frustrating, but we’ve got to keep working on it. The car is just not working around the track, so hopefully we’ll improve for tomorrow.”

Marco Andretti in the No.98 US Concrete Honda starts 22nd and speaking following the session he said:

We left yesterday a little happier with the car. The car in qualifying today felt nothing like what we had yesterday. We were super loose on (Firestone) Reds and just couldn’t get the times in we needed. It’ll be a long day and we’ll have to get creative, but we’ll be ready for a fight.”

Matheus Matt Leist in the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet starts 23rd and speaking following the session he said:

“It looked like it was going to be our best qualifying of the year today. We had a pretty good car – we did the right preparation. On my fastest lap on the red tires, we had an issue on the last corner. We lost a second so that was the end of our day. That one second would have easily put us in the top 12. It’s a shame because it is the last qualifying of the year and the team wanted to be there, we had to be there. We’ll just focus on tomorrow and hope to have a good race.”

Jack Harvey in the No.60 AutoNation Sirius XM Honda for Meyer Shank Racing rolls off from 24th and last place and speaking following the action he said:

“It’s been a tough weekend for us. We’ve lacked pace no matter what the conditions were. Hopefully tomorrow our strategy can move us up and if there are any yellows, hopefully they will play in our favor

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