O’Ward becomes ninth different IndyCar pole sitter in nine rounds at Mid-Ohio


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McLaren SP driver Patricio O’Ward scored pole position for the Mid-Ohio Indy 200 – becoming the ninth different driver to claim pole position in nine races this season.

Chevrolet powered cars led every phase of qualifying during the session, with Scott McLaughlin leading round one, group one qualifying as well as round two. Felix Rosenqvist was the fastest group two qualifier in the first round.

Meanwhile, O’Ward was able to match the pace of his McLaren SP team mate Rosenqvist in the first and second rounds. Then, in the Fast Six, O’Ward took provisional pole with a time of 1’07.085, ahead of McLaughlin and Rosenqvist. O’Ward would improve on his second and final flying lap, setting a time of 1’06.705, the only driver in the Fast Six to break the 1’07s threshold.

It’s O’Ward’s first pole since last year’s Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the fifth of his career. The result is also a boost to the Mexican driver’s hopes of jumping back into the forefront of the championship: Not only does he start at the head of the field for tomorrow’s 80-lap race, but the top three drivers in the championship ahead of him all suffered setbacks during qualifying.

The most notable of which came during group one in first round qualifying, where Will Power had his two fastest lap times of the session deleted for impeding Helio Castroneves with a block across the sweeping bend of turn three, nearly pushing the four-time Indy 500 winner onto the grass at the fastest part of the track. Power had the fastest time in the session until that point, and the penalty would put Power behind the cut line to advance to the second round. He will start 21st tomorrow.

Also missing out on a place in second round qualifying was Indy 500 winner and points leader Marcus Ericsson, starting 13th, next to Josef Newgarden, last year’s Mid-Ohio winner, in 14th.

McLaughlin, who has had a slump in form since finishing second place at Texas Motor Speedway back in March, starts in second for his best qualifying result since that second round race. Colton Herta was the fastest Honda-powered driver, qualifying in third, with Rosenqvist – recently extended with McLaren for 2023 with a role to be determined – continuing his resurgence in fourth.

Six-time Mid-Ohio race winner Scott Dixon qualified in fifth, with Simon Pagenaud in sixth, and reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palou in seventh. Behind were three rookies completing the top ten: David Malukas in eighth, Kyle Kirkwood in ninth, and Callum Ilott in tenth.

Nine different pole winners in nine races is a feat that hasn’t happened in top-level American open-wheel racing since the 1961 USAC Championship season, which finished with ten different pole winners in twelve races.

Tomorrow’s Mid-Ohio Indy 200 goes green at 17:45 BST (12:45 PM EDT, local time).

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Indy 200 qualifying results

Position Car Driver Team Engine
1 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet
2 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
3 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
4 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet
5 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda
6 60 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Honda
7 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
8 18 David Malukas Coyne/HMD Honda
9 14 Kyle Kirkwood Foyt Chevrolet
10 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
11 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
12 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Honda
13 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
14 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
15 6 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
16 30 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
17 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Honda
18 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
19 51 Takuma Sato Coyne/RWR Honda
20 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Honda
21 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
22 20 Conor Daly Carpenter Chevrolet
23 4 Dalton Kellett Foyt Chevrolet
24 45 Jack Harvey RLL Honda
25 16 Simona de Silvestro Paretta Chevrolet
26 11 Tatiana Calderon Foyt Chevrolet
27 48 Jimmie Johnson Ganassi Honda

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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6 comments on “O’Ward becomes ninth different IndyCar pole sitter in nine rounds at Mid-Ohio”

  1. Maho Pacheco
    2nd July 2022, 23:31

    If Pato does a good work this certainly will put pressure in Ric.

  2. Entertaining qually. The top guys are starting in the middle of the grid. Should be a good race on a track that’s hard to pass.

  3. I don’t often watch Indycar. But I found myself glued to the screen yesterday, I enjoyed it more than the F1 qualifying. I don’t know much about Mid-Ohio, other than I assume it’s in the middle of Ohio. The cars were squirming and dancing everywhere, the graphics, onboards all of it was really impressive I thought.

    I like the idea of Scott McLaughlin, there is something very admirable about being so competitive in two very different disciplines. Sometimes with categories outside of F1, whether it be FE, F2 or W series, I do my best to check standings etc so I’ve more ‘invested’ in the race, and I think they all provide great racing but I rarely feel like i’m on the edge of my seat, and sometimes just wander off to go do something else.

    I think of ‘the other series’, Indycar is the one I think I’ll make the most effort to absorb myself in. I’ve never been to an Indycar race, but the fan experience seems really good, the drivers just seem happier. I won’t be in the middle of Ohio today, but I will be watching.

    1. ‘I assume it’s in the middle of Ohio.’ That one made me laugh. That really was a nice little piece you wrote. And yes, the onboards were awesome.

    2. IndyCar has a fantastic field of drivers, with more that half of them having an interesting narrative going around them to invest yourself in the characters and the series.

  4. I’m glad to see McLaughlin back in contention. He’s had a bit of a slump in the last couple of races.
    It looks like the standings my tighten up after this race!

    1 Marcus Ericsson 293
    2 Will Power 266
    3 Josef Newgarden 261
    4 Pato O’Ward 248
    5 Alex Palou 246
    6 Scott Dixon 224
    7 Alexander Rossi 218
    8 Felix Rosenqvist 203
    9 Scott McLaughlin 199
    10 Simon Pagenaud 197
    11 Colton Herta 196 1 1 3 5

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