Graham Rahal wins first IndyCar pole in six years

INDIANAPOLIS — Three months after he left Indianapolis 500 qualifying in tears, Graham Rahal savored each valuable second of incomes the No. 1 beginning spot for the Indianapolis Grand Prix on Friday.

The Ohioan ended a six-year pole drought by outdueling teammate Christian Lundgaard.

Rahal’s accomplished his closing qualifying lap on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile highway course in 1 minute, 10.1102 seconds. Lundgaard was second in 1:10.2208 whereas 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren certified third in 1:10.2932.

Rahal pumped his fists and traded fist bumps — a stark distinction to the seemingly inconsolable scene after teammate Jack Harvey knocked him off the five hundred beginning grid earlier this season. Rahal finally began the race, changing the injured Stefan Wilson in a unique automobile.

“You progress on it from it as finest you possibly can,” Rahal stated. “There’s a variety of frequent reminders of what occurred not solely in qualifyng however the automobile not beginning the race and issues like that. Once I acquired again dwelling after Could, the very first voice mail I had was type Al Unser Jr. You see anyone like him, who — he is received right here, been right here — however he is additionally seen the bottom of lows. And seeing his identify on my telephone lifted my spirits.”

The pole is the primary for Rahal since June 2017, when he dominated the weekend in Detroit by profitable each races. That was additionally the final time Rahal drove into victory lane.

With Harvey beginning eighth, Lundgaard thinks Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing might be celebrating once more Saturday.

“I simply acquired outqualified by Graham, technically everybody did,” Lundgaard stated. “I feel there was some small errors I might have prevented to leap forward. However I feel we have put ourselves in a great place.”

There was loads of intrigue even earlier than Rahal’s closing run.

Six-time collection champion Scott Dixon and Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden each didn’t advance out of the primary spherical. Newgarden, a two-time collection champ, enters the weekend second in factors — 84 behind chief Alex Palou.

However the chasers caught a break when Palou, the 2021 IndyCar champ, was eradicated within the second spherical. The Spaniard will begin ninth.

The 2 strongest groups within the collection, Chip Ganassi Racing and Workforce Penske, have been shut out of the ultimate spherical.

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