Herta Hangs On For Sunday Mid-Ohio Pole

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Herta Hangs On
Colton Herta with the NTT Pole Award at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday. (IndyCar photo)

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Colton Herta was able to hang on to a treacherous track Sunday, as the second-year NTT IndyCar Series driver used rain tires on a drying surface to win the pole for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

Herta, who drives for Andretti Autosport, benefited from a track that continued to dry in the second group of qualifications on Sunday morning.

It was his fourth career pole and his first in 2020.

Herta’s fast lap was 1:26.2788 around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda for Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Racing.

“We knew it was going to be about that last lap with a drying track and hold on to the tires,” Herta said. “Now, we have the best seat in the house for the race.

“You want to get up to speed, get up to your brake points and make it right away. But I had to get in front of Felix Rosenqvist and make it for two laps. Once we were able to do that, we hit our braking points and was able to put in a good lap.”

Both sessions of Sunday morning’s qualifications included multiple red flag stoppages for cars that went off the race course in wet conditions.

Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser and Sullivan was the fastest in Group One at 1:28.8660 (91.473 mph) in the SealMaster Honda. That creates the second-youngest front row in IndyCar history at 21.1 years old. Herta is 21 and Ferrucci is 22.

July’s Road America average age was 20.7 when Pato O’Ward won the pole and Herta was second in the second race of the REV Group Grand Prix.

Six-time Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio race winner Scott Dixon starts third at 1:27.0991 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.

Alex Palou’s No. 55 Honda starts fourth at 1:30.771 and Felix Rosenqvist rounds out the top five at 1:27.141 in the NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Several big-name drivers will start in the back after having issues in their qualification attempt including Saturday’s race winner, Will Power, who was parked by IndyCar officials for bringing out the red flag in the second group.

“Is that a new rule?” Power radioed to his crew after he was notified that he was though.

“Uh, not really,” Team Penske managing director Ron Ruzewski radioed back.

Power will start 17th.

O’Ward was stuck in the gravel and will also start in the back of the field. He is currently third in IndyCar points. He will start 21st. Takuma Sato, this year’s Indy 500 winner, will start 22nd.

Sunday’s race begins at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.