AVONDALE, La. – Sunday’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) will feature a grid based on entrant points rather than practice times.
This has, of course, jumbled the order compared to the form guide witnessed in practice at NOLA Motorsports Park, and also compared to what would have been spots 13-24 had qualifying continued past Q1 on Saturday.
First off, here would have been the positions 13-24 from qualifying Saturday, if qualifying had continued through to its conclusion, and here’s where they will be starting on Sunday based on entrant points:
ELIMINATED IN Q1 (ACTUAL GRID SPOT TO RIGHT):
13. 2-Juan Pablo Montoya, 1:39.8157 (1)
14. 14-Takuma Sato, 1:49.6570 (13)
15. 18-Carlos Huertas, 1:40.1864 (24)
16. 4-Stefano Coletti, 1:50.7713 (20)
17. 3-Helio Castroneves, 1:40.2080 (4)
18. 20-Luca Filippi, 1:51.7934 (9)
19. 25-Simona de Silvestro, 1:40.2154 (18)
20. 98-Gabby Chaves, 1:52.6481 (17)
21. 19-Francesco Dracone, 1:40.6653 (23)
22. 15-Graham Rahal, 1:54.7212 (11)
23. 11-Sebastien Bourdais, 1:41.7573** (6)
24. 41-Jack Hawksworth, 1:55.9655 (8)
Here were the 12 drivers that hypothetically would have advanced into Q2 and then had the chance to run for the Firestone Fast Six from Q2, with their actual grid spot to the right:
1. 10-Tony Kanaan, 1:38.3668 (3)
2. 22-Simon Pagenaud, 1:38.4420 (5)
3. 26-Carlos Munoz, 1:38.5526 (14)
4. 1-Will Power, 1:38.5766 (2)
5. 7-James Jakes, 1:39.1614 (22)
6. 5-James Hinchcliffe, 1:39.7898 (16)
1. 67-Josef Newgarden, 1:43.8783 (12)
2. 28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, 1:46.7627 (7)
3. 9-Scott Dixon, 1:47.1617 (15)
4. 83-Charlie Kimball, 1:47.4779 (21)
5. 27-Marco Andretti, 1:48.0192 (10)
6. 8-Sage Karam, 1:49.1470 (19)
Based on practice times from the weekend, the quartet of Chip Ganassi Racing cars (all four in the top nine in third practice) have a reason to be miffed at the qualifying cancellation.
Others who looked good in third practice – Chaves (third), Munoz (sixth) and Newgarden (seventh) – will start further back than their form guide from the weekend would indicate.
The Penske drivers got a bit of a get out of jail free card, with both Montoya and Castroneves advancing from hypothetical Q1 eliminations into pole and fourth place starting positions, respectively.
Otherwise, there’s really not too much to read into how qualifying didn’t go today. The INDYCAR rulebook dictates a grid by entrant points in qualifying rainouts, so NOLA 2015 joins Toronto two 2014, and Houston two 2013 as recent rainouts. In each of those three races, a Team Penske driver (Castroneves at the other two, Montoya on Sunday) has been on pole.
With it being a rain session, the field was always going to be jumbled anyway. And if it rains tomorrow, there is no guarantee that the grid order will stay in order even by entrant points.