Qualifying Report: GMR Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS – Dalton Kellett made his official NTT INDYCAR Series debut by qualifying for the GMR Grand Prix Friday afternoon on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s infield road course. His teammate Charlie Kimball will start in his sixth race on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit.
Hot temperatures and a sole 90-minute practice session made for difficult qualifying conditions for the second race of the INDYCAR season. Kimball, who has three top-five finishes in his past five GMR Grand Prix starts, is confident his No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet will be faster Saturday once the engineers pour through the data Friday evening.
“Honestly, pretty disappointed,” said Kimball, who posted a time of 1 minute, 11.4026 seconds. He will start 24th. “It was not the result that anyone at AJ Foyt Racing wants, not anything that the No. 4 car wanted, but I still have a huge amount of faith in the team, the guys, the engineers tonight. Headed into the engineering office, we’re gonna work on it, look through all the data, talk about previous experiences here plus what tomorrow’s going to bring strategy-wise, weather-wise. It’s supposed to be another hot one tomorrow, so that changes a little bit with what we do, but I have every bit of confidence that come warmup tomorrow morning the No. 4 Tresiba Chevrolet will be faster. And then in the race we’ll roll some strategy dice and hopefully end up inside the top 10.”
Charlie Kimball at speed.
Kellett, who had just one full day of testing at Sebring, Fla and a handful of laps at the Circuit of the Americas open test in the No. 14 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet, will start 26th after posting a time of 1 minute, 11.5876 seconds. “
First INDYCAR qualifying is in the books,” said the young Canadian rookie, who has eight starts here—in the Indy Lights Series presented by Cooper Tires. “What better place to do it than at Indianapolis? This is the track that means a lot to me and means a lot to the team – all their history here – so I can’t think of somewhere better to have that great first experience. It’s definitely been a learning day without having a lot of testing in the offseason given the big break and all that. Just trying to go hard right off the bat on the Firestone reds — it’s pretty tough — and definitely something that I’m going to have to learn and get better at as the season progresses. But I think we’ll be reviewing the day, looking at the onboard between the 14 and the 4 cars and seeing what we can learn from that and make improvements for tomorrow’s race.”
Will Power won the pole with his run of 1 minute, 9.4987 seconds which earned him his 58th NTT P1 pole award. He is just nine behind record holder Mario Andretti who has won 67 poles during his INDYCAR career.
Rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 was Jack Harvey, who posted his career best qualifying run of second, will start alongside Power. Youngsters Colton Herta, starting second, and Oliver Askew sandwiched fourth-starting Graham Rahal. Josef Newgarden rounded out the Fast 6.
The field of 26 cars will have a final 30-minute warmup Saturday morning before the GMR Grand Prix, which will be broadcast by NBC starting at 12 noon ET.