Pato O’Ward took another big step toward a breakthrough inaugural victory in the NTT IndyCar Series, outdueling many of the circuit’s major names and teams to capture the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama pole position Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.
O’Ward, who is only his second full season with Arrow McLaren SP, put the No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet in the top spot, besting Alexander Rossi by 0.0698 seconds. Alex Palou qualified third (tying his career best at Road America in July 2020), followed by Will Power, Scott Dixon and Marcus Ericsson.
The pole-winning lap was 1 minute, 5.8479 seconds, just off the 1:05.5019 lap that O’Ward, 21, turned in the second round to smash the former track record of 1:06.6001 set by Sebastien Bourdais in 2016 at Barber, which was repaved a couple of years ago.
It’s the second career pole for O’Ward, who led 43 laps and finished second at Road America last July after starting first.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH: Jimmie’s debut and all the major storylines for 2021