Marco Andretti roars to first career street course pole for Detroit GP Race 1

IndyCar
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Marco Andretti blistered the second IndyCar qualifying session Saturday morning to take the pole for this afternoon’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 (3 p.m. ET) at Belle Isle Park.

Andretti roared to the top of the speed chart with an outstanding lap of 1:14.8514 at a speed of 113.024 mph, in the closing minute of the second qualifying session.

Andretti’s elapsed time was nearly a half-second quicker than Robert Wickens at (1:15.3267 at 112.311 mph) in the 12-minute session. It is Andretti’s career-best start on the 2.3-mile street course and his fifth career pole (first on a street course).

“I knew we just had to execute,” Andretti said. “I’ve wanted a street course pole for a while, so I’m really happy. Now, I immediately am switching my brain to try to win this race. We need a win.”

Andretti’s previous best start at Detroit was sixth, while his career-best finish has been second in 2015.

The two qualifying sessions set the field for today’s race in a unique way. The first session determined those in even-numbered positions in the race, while the second session determined the those in odd-numbered spots in the race.

Ergo, even though Scott Dixon was fastest in the first session, he will start today’s race from the outside of the front row. Even so, it was a good morning for Andretti Autosport, which qualified three of its four drivers entered in the race in the top five spots.

Robert Wickens will start third.

“It was good,” Wickens said of his qualifying effort. “We were really quick on the blacks (tires). Great job by the team. We should be pretty good in the race.”

Drivers in both sessions had to run at least one lap each during qualifying on both black and red Firestone tires.

Here’s the starting lineup:

Row 1: Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon

Row 2: Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi

Row 3: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Indy 500 winner Will Power

Row 4: Takuma Sato and teammate Graham Rahal

Row 5: James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton

Row 6: Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot

Row 7: Simon Pagenaud and teammate Josef Newgarden

Row 8: Tony Kanaan and Zach Veach

Row 9: Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci

Row 10: Gabby Chaves and Jordan King

Row 11: Matheus Leist and Charlie Kimball

Row 12: Rene Binder

Here are results of the two qualifying sessions:

 

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)