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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
EXPERT
Modified 18 Apr 2021
News

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.

Read more: A look at the past, present, and future of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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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