Pato O’Ward ‘nails it’ in qualifying to win Detroit GP pole for Race 1 of doubleheader

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Pato O’Ward captured the pole position Saturday in qualifying for Race 1 of the IndyCar Detroit GP doubleheader, turning a lap of 1 minute, 15.578 seconds.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver will lead the field to green at 2 p.m. ET on NBC with his third career pole and second this season. He also started first in the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park, where he finished fourth in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

“You need to put so much faith into this place,” O’Ward told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider following his effort. “Put faith in the car, that it’s going to stick.  … When you nail a lap, you can tell you nailed it.”

RESULTS: Click here for Detroit GP full qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1Round 1, Group 2 | Round 2

O’Ward narrowly beat Alexander Rossi by .08 seconds. Rossi sat alongside O’Ward at Barber as well before finishing ninth in the race.

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Romain Grosjean, the Formula One veteran who was on pole for the last road course race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, qualified third.

Ed Jones will line up on the outside of Row 2 with Josef Newgarden rounding out the top five.

Click here for the Starting Lineup

IndyCar drivers gauge success in qualifications by making the Firestone Fast Six.

With alterations to the qualifying procedure to accommodate a doubleheader weekend on a tight, bumpy track, those who made the Fast 12 were the fortunate few, but that meant the track was more crowded and little mistakes were amplified.

Looking to put his poor Indy 500 qualification effort behind him, Will Power pressed hard on his last lap at Belle Isle. Before making the show in the 500, he scraped the wall and kept his foot on the accelerator. It appeared the same thing might happen for the Detroit GP. On his final lap, Power kissed the wall, kept digging, and a couple of turns later made heavier contact with a tire barrier.

Power will line up seventh for Race 1 of the Detroit GP.

Points leader Alex Palou was already facing a six-spot grid penalty for an engine change at Indy, but he hoped to at least find some speed in his car. He was slow in Round 1 and failed to advance. With the grid penalty, he will start at the back of the field.


QUALIFYING RESULTS FOR CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX, RACE 1

1. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:15.5776 (111.938 mph)
2. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:15.6584 (111.818)
3. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:15.7433 (111.693)
4. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:15.8119 (111.592)
5. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:15.8697 (111.507)
6. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:16.0832 (111.194)
7. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:16.0877 (111.187)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:16.1293 (111.127)
9. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:16.6606 (110.357)
10. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:17.4333 (109.255)
11. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:17.8680 (108.645)
12. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 1:17.8776 (108.632)
13. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:17.0691 (109.772)
14. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 1:16.4620 (110.643)
15. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:17.1579 (109.645)
16. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:16.4713 (110.630)
17. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:17.2904 (109.457)
18. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:16.6093 (110.430)
19. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:17.4180 (109.277)
20. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:16.6694 (110.344)
21. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:17.5190 (109.135)
22. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 1:16.6880 (110.317)
23. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:19.0944 (106.961)
24. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:17.5569 (109.081)
25. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:19.6697 (106.188)

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.