Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta in the No.26 Gainbridge Honda will start Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg having set a time of 01:00.3210s. Speaking following the action he said:
“I knew we had a good race car for here and really good qualifying pace from last year. “We just had to get through those first two stages nice and clean. The Gainbridge car was so good today, and everybody did a phenomenal job all weekend up until this point. Really happy for the guys, and hope we have a great race tomorrow.”
Meyer Shank Racing Jack Harvey will roll off from second place after setting a time of 01:00.5709s. Speaking following the action, Harvey said:
“There was a lot of work put in overnight and I trust everyone on the No. 60 crew, they’ve done a really great job all year. “We felt confident coming into this weekend because of how it traditionally has gone for us in the past. The No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda was really looking strong. I’m really looking forward to sharing the front row with our pseudo teammate, Colton. I just want to have a good start to the race and then we will go from there.”
MSR team owner Mike Shank said:
“I’m really proud of Jack. “He did an incredible job today and it was great to get a front row start on the weekend that we’re celebrating AutoNation’s 25th anniversary. We had a few tweaks to make after Friday practice, but once we got the car balanced out, Jack was untouchable. It of course would have been nice to get the pole, but starting on the front row is a great place to be and we’ll try to get it done tomorrow.”
Harvey went on to say:
“It’s a good weekend to have a good weekend. “I wanted to do something to say ‘thanks’ to everyone at AutoNation. They have done so much for me over the years, so it was the least that I could do to congratulate them on 25 years.”
Josef Newgarden was left disappointed after the Team Penske driver, who led the way in the opening practice sessions could only manage third on the grid with a time of 01:00.6078s.
Simon Pagenaud starts the race from fourth place, just ahead of fellow Frenchman, Sebastian Bourdais who did a fantastic job in his home race to start the event in his No.14 ROKiT Chevrolet from fifth place on the grid just ahead of Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Speaking about his run, O’Ward said:
“We just got done with qualifying here in St. Petersburg. We are sixth, starting on the outside of the third row. We had a quick car in qualifying but we just didn’t make quite the right call on either using reds or new blacks. The track was very different to what we felt in Practice 2, but we have a quick race car. We are going to be thinking about it tonight, and we are going to go get it tomorrow.”
Rinus Veekay was seventh fastest with a time of 01:00.4858 for Ed Carpenter Racing just ahead of defending series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda starts the race from ninth place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
“Starting ninth is not bad, but honestly we had a car to advance. We were actually up on Colton’s time in Q2 until Turn 9. We lost 3/10ths (of a second) in Turn 9 and that took us from being P1 to 9th. It’s a shame. I’m actually pretty frustrated because I know that the car had it so it’s disappointing to not be able to maximize that. I just got a lot of understeer. I kind of got held up early in Q2 which didn’t let me get the tire temperatures up. I think the tires were 20 degrees cooler in that lap in Q2 than my Q1 reds and I just couldn’t quite get the temp in. That’s part of the game. We will live to fight tomorrow. Hopefully we can a little better race, but obviously the car is extremely competitive and we are happy with where the United Rentals machine is right now.”
Last weekend’s winner, Alex Palou rounds out the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda.
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi in the No.27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda starts the race from eleventh just ahead of his teammate James Hinchcliffe in the No.29 Genesys Honda with a time of 01:00.8671s. Ryan Hunter Reay starts 13th just ahead of Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin and Takuma Sato who commented saying:
Qualifying was a bit frustrating. We just needed two more tenths (of a second) to move up to the second segment. We did everything we tried, we just need a little bit more speed. We have one more session tomorrow morning – the warm up – and hopefully we can have a bit more progress. It was a difficult qualifying today. The race will be another story. It’s going to be a tough one but I think where we are (starting), we are a little bit more open for strategy and we will see. We need to move up.
Marcus Ericsson starts 16th in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda starts the race from 16th just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist who commented saying:
“Qualifying wasn’t good. We struggled with a bit of everything to be honest: locking front, locking rear, understeer, over steer; it was just not together. I feel like whatever the grip is, is getting more of the track but it’s kind of going away from us a little bit. We’ve got to analyze what we can do for the race to be a bit more competitive. I think in the race we always have a chance to go forward so we’re keeping a positive mind set.”
Romain Grosjean starts the race from 18th in the No.51 Nurtec ODT Honda for Dale Coyne Racing and speaking following the action he said:
“It’s my first time in an Indy car on a street course and it’s been a really good experience. “We’ve been quickly up to speed but qualifying didn’t quite go our way. We tried different set ups and it didn’t work. I guess that’s part of the learning curve. We are ready for tomorrow for the race, and I think we can do well. I think starting from further back that it opens it up a bit more for strategy, so we’ll look at our options there. It’s been a really cool experience, obviously a bit disappointed with qualifying but Sunday is when it counts.”
Conor Day starts the race from 19th place just ahead of Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet for Team Penske while Ed Jones starts 21st just ahead of Max Chilton and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jimmie Johnson in the No.48 Carvana Honda while Dalton Kellett rounds out the grid in 24th place.