Pato O’Ward scorches track qualifying record to take Alabama Grand Prix pole, lineup

Pato O
Pato O'Ward. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Ted Fleming
Modified 18 Apr 2021

With a lap of 1:05.5019, Pato O’Ward set a new track qualifying record and will start on pole for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. The 21-year old, driving the No. 5 for Arrow McLaren SP, gave Chevrolet its 100th NTT IndyCar Series pole in 150 races since returning to engine manufacturer competition in 2012.

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Pato O’Ward set the new Barber Motorsports Park mark in the second knockout qualifying session on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course, timing in at 1:05.5019. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, O’Ward is seeking his first IndyCar victory after a nine-win Indy Lights season in 2018.

Pato O’Ward gives props to his team

Pato O’Ward, who will be making his 23rd NTT INDYCAR SERIES start, said during a post-qualifying press conference:

“We made some changes after Practice 2 that helped,” said “We’ve been working so hard in the off-season, and we’re clicking. Everybody on the team is working well together, and I knew exactly what time I needed to get out of the reds (alternate tires), and we just had to maintain pace on (primary) blacks because I thought we were pretty strong. We did that, and we’re starting on pole. It feels good. These guys deserve it, and we’ve got a race to win tomorrow. I’m really hungry, and I love this place to death.”

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Here is the starting lineup for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

1 Pato O’Ward

2 Alexander Rossi

3 Alex Palou

4 Will Power

5 Scott Dixon

6 Marcus Ericsson

7 Romain Grosjean (R)

8 Josef Newgarden

9 Colton Herta

10 Conor Daly

11 Jack Harvey

12 Scott McLaughlin (R)

13 Ed Jones

14 Rinus Veekasy

15 Simon Pagenaud

16 Sebastien Bourdais

17 Ryan Hunter-Reay

18 Graham Rahal

19 Takuma Sato

20 Max Chilton

21 Jimmie Johnson (R)

22 Felix Rosenqvist

23 Dalton Kellett

24 James Hinchcliffe

(R) Rookie

Published 18 Apr 2021
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