HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA POWERED BY AMFIRST
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK, BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
APRIL 17, 2021
Chevrolet earns 100th pole as O’Ward rises to the top
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 17, 2021) – Chevrolet earned its 100th pole start in 150 NTT INDYCAR SERIES races since returning to engine manufacturer competition in 2012 as Pato O’Ward rose to the top of the field in qualifications for the season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
O’Ward, 21, driving the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, recorded a lap of 1 minute, 05.8479 seconds in the six-minute Firestone Fast Six session to claim his second NTT P1 Award. In the second knockout qualifying session, O’Ward reset the track record on the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course that was repaved in 2019 with a lap of 1:05.5019. The event was not held in 2020 because of COVID-19.
“We made some changes after Practice 2 that helped,” said O’Ward, who will be making his 23rd NTT INDYCAR SERIES start. “We’ve been working so hard in the off-season and we’re clicking. Everybody on the team is working well together and I knew exactly what time I needed to get out of the reds (alternate tires), and we just had to maintain pace on (primary) blacks because I thought we were pretty strong. We did that and we’re starting on pole.
“It feels good. These guys deserve it and we’ve got a race to win tomorrow. I’m really hungry and I love this place to death.”
Looking ahead to the 90-lap/214.2-mile race, Chevrolet drivers have won 21 times when starting from the pole since 2012. Will Power with nine leads the wayPower, a two-time winner of the event, qualified fourth with a best lap of 1:06.1186 in the Firestone Fast Six driving the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet. Teammate and two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Josef Newgarden, driver of the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, qualified eighth. He is the only three-time winner of the race.
Conor Daly, competing at the racetrack for the first time since 2017, qualified 10th in the No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing.
NBC will telecast the 90-lap/214.2-mile race at 3 p.m. ET April 18. The race will also be broadcast live on INDYCAR Radio Network affiliates, Sirius 211, XM 205, Indycar.com, and on the INDYCAR Mobile app powered by NTT DATA.
Team Chevy qualifiers:
1st Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP
4th Will Power, No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske
8t Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske
10th Conor Daly, No. 20 U.S. Air Force Ed Carpenter Racing
12th Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 PPG Team Penske
14th Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Ed Carpenter Racing
15th Simon Pagenaud, No. 22 Menards Team Penske
16th Sebastien Bourdais, No. 14 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing
22nd Dalton Kellett, No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA AJ Foyt Racing
23rd Felix Rosenqvist, No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN SP CHEVROLET — POLE WINNER:
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN QUALIFYING?
“We made some changes after Practice 2 that helped. We’ve been working so hard in the off-season and we’re clicking. Everybody on the team is working well together and I knew exactly what time I needed to get out of the reds (alternate tires) and we just had to maintain pace on (primary) blacks because I thought we were pretty strong. We did that and we’re starting on pole. It feels good. These guys deserve it and we’ve got a race to win tomorrow. I’m really hungry and I love this place to death.”
THIS HAS TO MEAN A LOT TO BOTH YOU AND THIS TEAM. YOU ARE THE FOCAL POINT OF IT.
“Oh man, these guys deserve it. We’ve been working so hard in the off-season. We had great testing and now it was time to put it to the work. Zak Brown, Ric Peterson and Sam (Schmidt) are here; all the big guys are here. What a better place to try and put it on the pole, which we achieved that now. Man, I am so happy for them. I’m happy for myself, It’s the best view that you can get into Turn 1 tomorrow and let’s go win this race, man. We’re hungry. We’re really hungry and I love this place. I love this place to death. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT SUITS YOU SO WELL?
“Ah, cojones! (laughs). Yeah, it takes big ones to throw down a lap around this place. But man, it feels good when you nail it.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON 5G TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 4TH:
“Hey guys, I just completed qualifying, and we made it to the Fast Six, and we qualified fourth. Obviously, it’s a very tight field and very tough to get though each round; but we probably didn’t quite have the tire strategy in the Fast Six. Maybe we should have waited and done two laps at the end. But I’m pretty happy with the Fast Six. There are a lot of quick guys there and I look forward to a good day tomorrow.”
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO. 3 PPG TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 12TH. CONTENDING FOR ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR:
“Unbelievable to get back in the PPG Chevy in full-on race conditions. Coming to a track I know, I tested here twice, gave me with some bit of confidence. Came here with a really good car. Jonathan my engineer gave me a really good car felt like a pretty good car initially. Picked my way through practice one and two. It felt really strong for qualifying and our goal was to make it to the second round and the top-12, and we did that. Probably not so proud of my Q2 run. Probably not the best run of my life, but, to get our first goal for 2021 is good for this whole group, and we can build on it from there. Looking forward to a good race tomorrow”
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 75 countries with nearly 4 million cars and trucks sold in 2019. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found www.chevrolet.com.