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Felix Rosenqvist wins pole for the Gallagher Grand Prix. (Al Steinberg photo)

Rosenqvist Takes Pole For Gallagher GP

INDIANAPOLIS — Felix Rosenqvist of Arrow McLaren Racing continued his drive to remain in IndyCar by winning the pole Friday for Saturday’s Gallagher Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Rosenqvist claimed his third career pole with a fast lap of 1:10.2265 around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in the No. 7 Chevrolet for Arrow McLaren Racing.

“This means a lot for me to finally get it,” Rosenqvist said. “The Arrow McLaren Chevrolet was unbelievable. It was on rails the whole day. It’s a really good car.

“We ran one lap on the Firestone Reds, and it was a good one.”

Alexander Rossi was second quick at 1:10.5030 in the No. 27 NAPA Auto Parts Honda for Andretti Autosport.

“Good job for Felix,” Rossi said. “This is a good car. Best result we’ve had here as a team. We’ll see how we do in the race. I think our race pace is the best.”

Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP was third at 1:10.6092 in the No. 5 Chevrolet.

Will Power of Team Penske could have tied Mario Andretti for all-time IndyCar poles, but was fourth at 1:10.6224 in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.

Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden was fifth at 1:10.6968 in the No. 2 Chevrolet followed by Christian Lundgaard’s Honda at 1:10.7280.

NTT IndyCar Series points leader Marcus Ericsson stopped on course on his first lap after his crew radioed that telemetry showed a major problem with the car. Because Ericsson’s No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda was stopped on course, it brought out the red flag, which meant he could not advance out of Segment 1, Group 2.

Ericsson, who enters the weekend with a slim eight-point lead over Team Penske’s Will Power in the battle for the NTT IndyCar Series championship, will have his worst starting position of the season.

He will start last in the 25-car field in Saturday’s race.

Prior to that, Conor Daly was the fastest driver in Segment 1, Group 2. The Chevrolet driver for Ed Carpenter Racing ran a fast time of 1:10.3822. He was followed by Team Penske Josef Newgarden’s Chevrolet at 1:10.4240 followed by Team Penske teammate Will Power’s 1:10.6516.

Pato O’Ward’s Chevrolet was fourth at 1:10.6084.

Honda drivers claimed the final two positions to advance, including Christian Lundgaard’s 1:19.7718 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Simon Pagenaud’s 1:10.7911 in the No. 60 Honda for Meyer Shank Racing.

Missing the cut out of that group were Jack Harvey (1:10.8564), Scott McLaughlin (1:10.9067), Graham Rahal (1:10.9093), Callum Ilott (1:11.1195), Kyle Kirkwood (1:11.2156) and Jimmie Johnson (1:11.7710).

Segment 1, Group 2 was led by Felix Rosenqvist’s 1:10.1220 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet followed by Colton Herta’s No. 26 Honda at 1:10.1641, Rinus VeeKay’s No. 21 Chevrolet at 1:10.1821, Alex Palou’s 1:10.3786, Alexander Rossi’s 1:10.3844 and David Malukas’ 1:10.6239.

Drivers that did not advance out of Group 2 were Devlin DeFrancesco (1:10.7073), Helio Castroneves (1:10.7560), Takuma Sato (1:10.8276), Scott Dixon (1:10.8938), Romain Grosjean (1:11.0244), Dalton Kellett (1:12.0060) and Marcus Ericsson.

“That was just a bit of a mess,” Dixon said. “I don’t know what we were thinking. Everybody went out, we couldn’t get an opening, and it was just pretty messy out there.

“This gives us the option to be super aggressive out there on our setup and race strategy.”

Segment 2 was paced by Will Power’s 1:10.0277 followed by Felix Rosenqvist’s 1:10.0781, Josef Newgarden’s 1:10.1156, Alexander Rossi’s 1:10.1295, Pato O’Ward’s 1:10.1574 and Christian Lundgaard’s 1:10.1805.

Palou barely missed the Fast Six and will start seventh after running a time of 1:10.2074.

Also missing out was VeeKay (1:10.3100) and Herta (1:10.3532).

“The issue, these last two years the Firestone tires have been so inconsistent,” Herta said. “Everyone has had this problem the last year-and-a-half. Inconsistent tires, this sucks.

“I’m more than frustrated about it. We should have been in there.”

Other drivers who missed the Fast Six were Conor Daly (1:10.5135), David Malukas (1:10.5836) and Simon Pagenaud (1:10.7624).

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