Colton Herta wins pole position in wild qualifying session at Mid-Ohio

IndyCar Mid-Ohio pole
Chris Jones/IndyCar
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Colton Herta captured the pole position at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series race (1 p.m. ET, NBC).

The No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver clocked the fastest time at 1 minute, 26.2788 seconds in Group 2 of an eventful qualifying session that was delayed 30 minutes by an arriving helicopter. With the track still drying from a morning downpour, the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course proved difficult to navigate with varying grip levels.

“I knew it was going to be all about that last lap with a drying track,” Herta told NBC Sports pit reporter James Hinchcliffe. “Trying to hold onto the tires. Firestone makes a great wet tire, but it wasn’t really all that wet out there, so by the second lap, they were all chewed up.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Starting order in Race 2 at Mid-Ohio l Group 1 l Group 2

STARTING LINEUP: With tire designations

SUNDAY’S RACE: Details for watching Mid-Ohio Race 2 on NBC

“The Capstone car was amazing, and now we’ve got the best seat in the house for the race.”

It’s the first pole position of the season and fourth of his IndyCar career for the Andretti Autosport driver, who won at Laguna Seca the last time he started first in the 2019 season finale.

Santino Ferrucci will start alongisde Herta in the front row after pacing the first qualifying group.

Points leader Scott Dixon (who was second fastest overall with a 1:27.0991) will start third, followed by Alex Palou, Felix Rosenqvist, Simon Pagenaud and Marco Andretti.

The rest of the starting order: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal, Zach Veach, Oliver Askew, Marcus Ericsson, Conor Daly, Pato O’Ward, Max Chilton, Will Power, Dalton Kellett, Jack Harvey, Takuma Sato and Charlie Kimball.

After winning Saturday’s opener of a race weekend doubleheader at Mid-Ohio, Power had his qualifying session scrubbed Sunday and given no time after spinning and causing a red flag to start Group 2. Pato O’Ward also crashed for the second time in two days during the session, and Jack Harvey lost his rear wing in an incident.

Group 1 was just as wild. Sato, Palou and Hunter-Reay all spun or went off course, and Kimball brought out a red flag by stopping in Turn 1.

Ferruci still blistered the course late in the session, setting the fast time by more than 3 seconds at 1:27.4688 over Palou’s 1:30.7107.

“Man, this place around the rain is special,” Ferrucci told Hinchcliffe. “Because all the sealer, it’s such a unique line. I couldn’t do more than just enjoy those laps.”