Barber Qualifying

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There is a reason that I don’t do this for my day job. In my last post, I said you could count on Romain Grosjean, Colton Herta and Scott McLaughlin to make the Firestone Fast Six. I said that based on their consistency going from Practice One on Friday, to Practice Two this morning. As usual, I was wrong.

McLaughlin was the only one of the bunch to make it into the Fast Six. he was fifth quick yesterday, fourth in this morning’s practice and will roll off the grid fourth in tomorrow’s race.

As for Herta and Grosjean; the two Andretti drivers will start tenth and eighth respectively. That’s not bad, but not the Fast Six that I had predicted.

Had I been smart, I would’ve paid more attention to Rinus VeeKay. He and Pato O’Ward were neck and neck in this morning’s practice session. It looked as if O’Ward was about to snag his second pole in a row at Barber, but at the very last second – VeeKay took the top spot on the scoring pylon, which was actually working today. O’Ward will start alongside VeeKay on the front row. Here’s a shot (courtesy of Susan) of VeeKay at the post-qualifying press conference.

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Last year’s race-winner, Alex Palou, has been stealthily quiet this season, but good enough to sit third in points. Third is where the quiet Spaniard will start for Sunday’s race. Don’t be too surprised if he sneaks up and wins this race tomorrow. I won’t be. McLaughlin will start fourth, next to Palou on the outside of Row Two.

After a mad thrash to repair his crash car, Alexander Rossi put the car in the Fast Six and will start fifth. I nabbed this photo of him after qualifying, as he was being interviewed by NBC’s Dillon Welch.

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Rossi will start alongside Felix Rosenqvist. Arrow McLaren SP was the only team to have two drivers in the Firestone Fast Six.

As we are about to run the fourth race in the NTT IndyCar Series for 2022, it is appearing to be more than a coincidence that Chevy has won three out of four poles and all three races thus far. Honda needs to win the race they sponsor if they want to have any hope of carrying some momentum into the Month of May.

Herta may have been able to advance, but he got caught by the red flag, brought out when Marcus Ericsson found the gravel trap in Turn Nine. I caught this photo of him while waiting to be interviewed by Marshall Pruett of Racer.com after qualifying.

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My pick to win, Josef Newgarden, almost made it into the Fast Six. He will start seventh, but will have his work cut out for him. The furthest back that anyone has started and won at Barber is ninth. He can do it, but it will be tougher than starting in the first couple of rows.

It’s hard to draw any conclusions from the first two practices and qualifying. This is a tough race to predict. Throw in the fact that rain tomorrow is a distinct possibility, and you have an even bigger wild-card to try and figure out.

The Final Practice is coming up at 4:20 CDT this afternoon and it will be carried live on Peacock. That’s going to do it for me. Susan will definitely have a post after the final session, then I’ll be back here tomorrow morning before the race. Please check back after the final practice.

George Phillips

One Response to “Barber Qualifying”

  1. Yannick Says:

    Thank you for covering yet another event from trackside.
    The starting lineup looks like this one going to be a race to watch: there are so many storylines in there.
    Here’s wishing everybody a good and safe race.
    Glad to see your wife is feeling better again.

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