Dale Coyne Racing’s Zachary Claman De Melo was hoping for a better outcome aboard his #19 Paysafe machine during qualifying for the Kohler Grand Prix on Saturday, as the rookie had to settle for a 17th place on the grid of a very competitive Verizon IndyCar Series field.
Taking to the track in Group 1, Claman De Melo started the 12-minute qualifying session on Firestone Red tires. Things looked good early on as he immediately jumped to second on his first lap and then went to third on his second lap, before heading to pit lane for a fresh set of Firestone Reds.
The Canadian registered his fastest time of 1:44.0189 on his fifth lap around the 4-mile, 14-turn track completing his lap just as the checkered flag waved. While his time initially placed him seventh in his group, he would end up ninth when all the cars had taken the checkered, only three tenths of a second from moving on to the second round of qualifying.
“It’s so competitive out there,” expressed Claman De Melo. “I thought we had a really good chance at doing better in qualifying, but we ended up on the wrong end of the timing sheet. We just missed making it to the second round by a few tenths so that’s a bit disappointing. That said, tomorrow is a long race and a lot can happen. I’m confident we can move up the field and get that good result we’ve been chasing the last few races.”
The Kohler Grand Prix at Road America, the tenth round of the season, will be broadcast live on NBCSN from 12:30pm ET on Sunday, June 24 with the race also being broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network, including SIRIUS/XM 209/214.