PLYMOUTH, Wis – Colton Herta has been looking for better luck in the races. Maybe this weekend is just what he needed. The 19 year old rookie phenom bested the best of the best on Saturday afternoon in Road America en route to his first career NTT IndyCar Series pole.
Herta, circled the 4.014-mile road course with a lap of 1:42.9920-seconds in his No. 88 Honda en route to his fifth top five starting spot in the last six races and ninth straight time he’ll roll off from the top 10.
See, the problem is, Herta hasn’t had the best of luck when the green flag drops in the race. Since his win at COTA, the one in which he became the youngest Indy Car winner ever, he’s finished outside the top 10 in literally every race.
At Barber, he qualified ninth but had an electrical issue early on and would finish 24th. A week later, he started 10th in Long Beach but made a mistake and finished 23rd.
In the INDYCAR Grand Prix he qualified fourth but was involved in an early race incident. He’d finish 23rd again. For the Indy 500, he started fifth but an electrical issue cost him dearly as he’d finish 33rd. He only completed 18 laps for the entire Month of May in race conditions.
At Belle Isle, he started fifth and fourth respectively but only finished 12th in each race. In the last race at Texas, he qualified 10th but was involved in a crash with Scott Dixon with 20 laps-to-go and would finish 18th as a result.
Now, he’s got a pole at a track that promoted track position. Two of the three years we’ve seen the pole winner win this race. Herta, is looking to make it 3-for-4.
Joining him on the front row is Alexander Rossi. The Andretti Autosport driver has finished second in three of the last four races and will start there in his No. 27 Honda on Sunday. Rossi, qualified in the Fast Six with a time of 1:43.1693-seconds. He lost the pole by only 0.1773-seconds.
Row 2 is an all Penske row with Will Power (1:43.3749-seconds) and Josef Newgarden (1:43.6036-seconds) starting third and fourth respectively.
Row 3 will be an all Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing row too with Graham Rahal (1:43.8076-seconds) rolling off fifth with his teammate Takuma Sato (1:43.8790-seconds) starting sixth.
Some of the usual suspect didn’t have a very good qualifying round. Scott Dixon made it to the second round but a puff of smoke came out the back of his No. 9 Honda. He didn’t make a lap in the second round of three and will start 12th. His teammate Felix Rosenqvist wasn’t quick enough in his group and will only roll off 18th.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has been quick all weekend and enters with a ton of momentum, but he only qualified 15th in his No. 28 Honda.
Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud hasn’t had the pace this weekend and it showed in qualifying. He’ll start 16th.
REV Group Grand Prix at Road America Starting Lineup
Row 1: Colton Herta R, Alexander Rossi
Row 2: Will Power, Josef Newgarden
Row 3: Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato
Row 4: Sebastien Bourdais, Spencer Pigot
Row 5: James Hinchcliffe, Marco Andretti
Row 6: Ed Jones, Scott Dixon
Row 7: Pato O’Ward R, Zach Veach
Row 8: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud
Row 9: Marcus Ericsson R, Felix Rosenqvist R
Row 10: Jack Harvey R, Matheus Leist
Row 11: Santino Ferrucci R, Max Chilton
Row 12: Tony Kanaan