INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 13) –Despite potential inclement weather slated for today’s qualifying session, dry conditions prevailed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.439, 14-turn road course.
Sébastien Bourdais took to the track first with group one. He started his session on primary compound Firestone tires and pitted from ninth position with a fast lap time of 1:12.8912 to make the switch to softer alternate compound tires. Reentering the session with four minutes to go, and posting a fast time of 1:11.5504, Bourdais crossed the line eighth, which did not advance him to the next round.
He will start 15th tomorrow in the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix. Bourdais noted that the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet team made positive gains since the practice session earlier today.
“I think we made a bit of progress but the field is so tight and it’s just not good enough,” surmised Bourdais. “It’s not like anybody’s got a great car, but we’re missing a little something just to make lap time and we’re just not quite putting our finger on it. Like I said, I think we made the car a little better and we’re a little closer but, man the field is so bunched up and you put everybody in half a second and it’s pretty hard to see an improvement in results. We’ll keep searching and make tweaks on it and hopefully we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”
Despite cloud cover creating cooler track temperatures for group two, Dalton Kellett didn’t fare as well in his group which was stacked with four of the top six qualifiers in the NTT INDYCAR Series field. Starting his session on primary compound tires, Kellett also pitted with four minutes to go to make the change to alternate Firestone tires. When the checkers dropped, Kellett posted a fast time of 1:12:5494. He will start 28th in tomorrow’s race.
“Tough qualifying for us. Definitely not where we want to be starting. We just kind of missed it overall going into there. We’ve been trying to help some power down issue and we didn’t quite get that, didn’t quite fix that with the changes that we made and on that second lap I had a moment coming out of Turn 10 and so that definitely hurt us. By the time you get to that third timed lap tires are gone so, not overly happy with where we are but we can only go forward, so looking ahead to Saturday and we’ll dig deep and see what we can figure out tonight going into the race.”
Patio O’Ward scored his third pole of the 2021 season, followed by Will Power, Romain Grosjean, Christian Lundgaard and Colton Herta rounding out the top five. Teams will have a 30-minute warmup tomorrow morning at 8:45 a.m. Coverage of the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.