Pato O’Ward Collects First IndyCar Pole

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Pato O'Ward earned his first NTT IndyCar Series pole Sunday at Road America. (IndyCar Photo)
Pato O'Ward earned his first NTT IndyCar Series pole Sunday at Road America. (IndyCar Photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The front row for Sunday’s REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR is a Harding Steinbrenner Racing reunion.

Pato O’Ward claimed the pole for the second race of the weekend doubleheader at Road America with a time of 1:44.8971 around the 4.014-mile, 14-turn road course in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Colton Herta was the provisional polesitter after he was the fastest driver in the first group before O’Ward topped him from the second group. Herta’s Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Honda lapped the course at 1:44.9250.

O’Ward and Herta were supposed to be teammates at Harding Steinbrenner Racing in 2019 and both made their NTT IndyCar Series debut in the 2018 season finale at Sonoma Raceway.

O’Ward left the team before the start of last season. He is now part of the Arrow McLaren SP effort along with rookie driver Oliver Askew.

The average age of the front row for Sunday’s race is 20.7. O’Ward is the third youngest polesitter in series history and the combination of O’Ward and Herta is the youngest combined front row in NTT IndyCar Series history.

“We had to execute and hit my marks and I tried to get a little extra out of my car,” O’Ward said. “The guys gave me a rocket ship. We’re starting on pole today and I’m very much looking forward to it.

“We have a race today and I want to win it. We are so focused on what we have to do. Everybody on the team has done a spectacular job. Without them, none of this is possible.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m really, really excited. We want to win. We’re not here to finish eighth. We want to be contenders for the championship.”

Rookie Alex Palou will start third after a lap at 1:44.9192. He finished third in Saturday’s opener. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay Honda lines up fourth at 1:46.1534. Graham Rahal’s Honda will start fifth at 1:45.0324.

Saturday’s race winner Scott Dixon is going for his fourth-straight victory in Sunday’s race. He will start sixth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda after running a lap at 1:45.2674.

Sunday’s event is scheduled to be televised beginning at Noon EST on NBC.