IndyCar Mid-Ohio pole
Chris Jones/IndyCar

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

Leave a comment

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.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.