ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP)Alexander Rossi won his first pole in three years and will now try to snap a losing streak that dates nearly as long.
Rossi will start from the pole Sunday at Road America, site of his last IndyCar Series victory 44 races ago on June 23, 2019.
”It’s pretty crazy to just think it’s been so long,” Rossi said.
Rossi turned a lap in Saturday qualifying of 1 minute, 44.8656 seconds on the 14-turn, 4.048-mile permanent road course considered one of the best in the world. His lap put the Andretti Autosport driver on pole for the first time since Belle Isle in 2019, three weeks before his last win.
”It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this position,” Rossi said. ”It’s amazing. It’s cool. We’ll enjoy it, but we’ve got a job to do.”
The American became the eighth different pole winner through eight qualifying sessions, the most parity since 1961 for IndyCar. There were nine different pole winners that season.
Josef Newgarden of Team Penske qualified second and was followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Alex Palou, the reigning series champion, and Marcus Ericsson, the Indianapolis 500 winner.
Colton Herta of Andretti qualified fifth but will start 11th instead because he received a six-position penalty for making an unapproved engine change before the Indianapolis 500. Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP moves into the fifth spot and Romain Grosjean of Andretti will start sixth.
IndyCar points leader Will Power, who cycled back to the top following his win last weekend in Detroit, failed to advance out of the first group and qualified 15th. IndyCar has never had a winner come from farther back than 13th, done by Alex Tagliani in 2004.
Simona de Silvestro, making her first start of the season, qualified 27th and last in the field as she adapts to her first IndyCar road course race since 2015. She and Tatiana Calderon give IndyCar a pair of women in the same race for the first time since the 2013 season finale.
Rossi, meanwhile, has been a roll the last three weeks.
He finished fifth in the Indianapolis 500 and was runner-up to Power last week in Detroit. He also confirmed last week he’s leaving Andretti Autosport at the end of his seventh season to drive for McLaren next year.
”I don’t think there’s any revelation. We’re not doing anything different,” Rossi said. ”Mistakes are minimized, chaotic events, minus a clutch blowing up this morning, have been relatively under control.”
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