Rinus VeeKay takes IndyCar pole at Barber; Alexander Rossi rebounds from crash


LEEDS, Alabama — Rinus VeeKay earned his second career NTT IndyCar Series pole position Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park, and Alexander Rossi rebounded from a practice crash to qualify fifth.

VeeKay turned a lap of 1 minute, 6.2507 seconds in his No. 21 Dallara-Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, topping qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.

It was the first pole for VeeKay since Oct. 1 ,2020 when he qualified first for the Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

SATURDAY SPEEDS: Click here for qualifying results l Click here for Practice 2 l Click here for P3 l Combined

HOW TO WATCH BARBER: All the details for Sunday’s race at NBC

“I thought we had potential,” VeeKay said. “It was a chaotic session. We knew we were in a good position, but to actually put it on pole was an accomplishment. I think the whole team maximized everything. We made the right decisions with tires, setup, everything.

“Confidence is high. I think from here we can have a great race and fight for the win, definitely.”

Sunday’s race broadcast will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday on NBC.

VeeKay became the fourth pole-sitter in four IndyCar races this season. Pato O’Ward (who won the 2021 pole at Barber) qualified a season-best second, followed by defending series champion Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin, Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist.

Rossi made the Fast Six despite making only six laps after slamming the wall in a morning practice session. All four Andretti Autosport teams scrambled to replace the back half of his No. 27 Dallara-Honda in just under three hours.

“An unfortunate mistake on my part,” Rossi said as Andretti team members thrashed to make an engine change, too.

“There’s a huge amount of guys, a lot of different color shirts here, and they’ll get it done. They are very good in these type of fire-drill situations.”

Rossi crashed in the 17th and final turn with 31 minutes left in practice.

The 2016 Indy 500 winner has had a terrible start to the season. He was 20th in the season-opener at St. Petersburg, ran only 11 laps at Texas before a battery failure ended his race and was eighth at Long Beach. He’s a free agent but reportedly headed to Arrow McLaren SP next season in a third entry.

The morning practice was particularly sloppy as Romain Grosjean, Rossi’s teammate at Andretti, went off track, as did two-time Barber winner Will Power.

“It’s not good off track,” Grosjean said of his detour through the gravel trap, “but it’s good on the track.”

Points leader Josef Newgarden, who has won two consecutive races and is trying for a $1 million bonus with a win Sunday, will start seventh in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy after falling less than two-hundredths of a second short of advancing to the final round.

Callum Ilott qualified a career-best 11th as the top rookie in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III