By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
The final seconds of Friday evening’s qualifying saw plenty of action at the top of the NTT IndyCar Series time cards. And at the end, it was Patricio O’Ward who topped the boards for good, busting a 1:10.714 lap time around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
The lap, a mere 0.007 over second-place Will Power, made for O’Ward’s third pole of 2021 and first since Belle Isle in June.
“It was a very put-together, calm lap,” O’Ward said. “There have been more wild laps in my career. As soon as we went out for practice, I knew we were in the window. You have to continuously work to make the car better, every car is capable of being on pole. It really comes down to the driver to be efficient with changes and to what to extract from the car.”
Losing ground on the series title race last week at Nashville, O’Ward hopes to jump back into the conversation with only five races left.
“We’ve had a very tough last few races and I am tired of being in the middle [of the] pack,” he said. “The goal is definitely to truly return to where we belong, which is to contend for podiums, for poles, ultimately for wins. I think we have the car to do something great tomorrow.”
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Power, who enters the weekend 11th in points, is more hopeful to turn his season around. The 2014 champion has never been winless in the IndyCar circuit and currently has no wins in 2021. This runner-up result has his eyes set on continuing the streak.
“We lost by about 0.006… but so did about four other people [laughs],” Power said. “That’s about the tightest session I have ever seen. I’m just glad to be back in the groove again. We had such a bad qualifying run lately and I was right in the running for pole.”
Rounding out the top five is Romain Grosjean third, debut driver Christian Lundgaard fourth and Colton Herta in fifth, who was only 0.049 seconds on pole.
Jack Harvey starts sixth followed by Conor Daly, Rinus VeeKay and Alexander Rossi the top 10.