Colton Herta wins IndyCar pole position again at Laguna Seca; Alex Palou fourth


Colton Herta won his second consecutive NTT IndyCar Series pole position at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, outqualifying teammate Alexander Rossi as Andretti Autosport Hondas swept the front row Saturday.

Will Power qualified third in the No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet, followed by points leader Alex Palou and Oliver Askew, who made the Fast Six for only the second time in his career and in his second start with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

It was the series-leading third pole position of the season for Herta’s No. 26 Dallara-Honda, which led the most laps in its previous two starts from first (including a victory in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg).

INDYCAR AT LAGUNA SECADetails for watching Sunday’s Grand Prix of Monterey

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the order by rows for Sunday’s race

Herta’s pole-winning time came on his third and final qualifying lap around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course during the Fast Six session.

“I’m glad we ended up doing three because I guess two wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “I really got to nail that third lap. The Gainbridge car was awesome, awesome being powered by Honda. What an amazing track. I love this place so much. Two for two for poles here.”

Herta led 83 of 90 laps in his 2019 victory at Laguna Seca. His father, Bryan, also qualified first at Laguna Seca in 1997 and won at the track in ’98 and ’99 (and now serves as Colton’s strategist).

Pato O’Ward, who trails Palou by 25 points entering Sunday’s race, qualified sixth as only two championship contenders made the final round of qualifying.

O’Ward avoided damage to his No. 5 Dallara-Chevrolet after spinning during the final round of qualifying.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Laguna Seca qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 Round 2 l Round 3

PRACTICE: Session I l Session II

“This was our maximization,” O’Ward said. “The best we did in practice was 20th just because we were all over the place. We didn’t really have the balance correctly, and I’m happy with sixth. Fifth obviously, would have been better, but I was pushing just to try to get every ounce out of the car.

“We made it to the Fast Six, which seemed kind of like a long haul for us going into qualifying, but we accomplished it. So, I’m happy with the changes that we made. Now we need to make the race car go faster and see what we can do in the race.”

Palou’s spin also had an impact on Power, who lost his quickest lap (which would have been second) because of a ruling he didn’t slow down for the local yellow in the Corkscrew turn.

Josef Newgarden, who topped practice Friday, will start 17th after being eliminated in first-round qualifying for the second consecutive week. The Team Penske driver trails Palou by 34 points.

“Obviously, not the result we were looking for,” Newgarden said. “We showed good pace yesterday and were on the right path this morning, but we just missed in qualifying. Unfortunate as we’ve made things more difficult for ourselves. Regardless, we’re focused on doing everything we can to move forward and we’ll be ready to get to work tomorrow.”

Marcus Ericsson (75 points behind) and Scott Dixon (49) qualified together on the fourth row as the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers tried to maintain long-shot title bids to catch their teammate Palou.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

How to Watch Seattle Supercross
Dylan Ferrandis may return before SX finale
SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points