IndyCar: Pato O’Ward captures first career pole position at Road America

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Pato O’Ward won the IndyCar Road America pole position Sunday morning and will start first for the first time in his NTT IndyCar Series career.

The Arrow McLaren SP Motorsports driver set the fast time toward the end of the Group 2 session and will start alongside Colton Herta, his former teammate in Indy Lights. O’Ward’s previous best start was fifth in his 2018 series debut at Sonoma.

O’Ward’s lap of 1 minute, 44.8971 seconds knocked off rookie Alex Palou, whose excellent weekend at Road America continued even without an IndyCar Road America pole. The Dale Coyne Racing rookie will start a career-best third in his fourth IndyCar race after finishing a career-best third Saturday in the REV Group.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the grid in Race 2 at Road America

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Drivers speed in Sunday’s session at Road America

RACE INFO: How to watch Sunday’s race at Road America

This will be the 12th IndyCar start for O’Ward, who is the third-youngest IndyCar pole winner at 21 years, 2 months, 6 days. With an average age of 20.7 years, the Monterrey, Mexico, native and Herta will form the youngest front row in series history.

Ryan Hunter-Reay will start fourth alongisde Palou. Graham Rahal qualified fifth.

Scott Dixon, who is seeking his fourth consecutive victory to open the 2020 season, qualified sixth after winning from the ninth starting position Saturday in the first REV Group GP at Road America.

Other notables: Felix Rosenqvist seventh; Will Power eighth; Alexander Rossi 10th; Josef Newgarden 14th; Marco Andretti 19th; Simon Pagenaud 22nd.

Santino Ferrucci will start 11th after spinning without making contact late in the Group 2 session. Returning from a Saturday crash that left him with an injured right shoulder, Conor Daly qualified 20th.

The race broadcast will begin at noon ET on NBC. Green flag is at 12:42 p.m.

GROUP 1: Click here for results

GROUP 2: Click here for results

 

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.