Qualifying Report: GMR Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS (May 13, 2022) -- Under hot conditions that saw ambient temperatures hovering in the high 80s and the track surface sizzling at 130 degrees, qualifying for the GMR Grand Prix was tricky at the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex.
Despite a tough day, the AJ Foyt Racing team made steps in the right direction over the course of the practice sessions. Qualifying proved challenging, but A.J. Foyt’s drivers are starting alongside a few former Series and Indy 500 champions.
“Not our best qualifying. We were just outside the top 20, starting alongside Scott Dixon tomorrow for the race,” said Kyle Kirkwood, who will start 22nd in the No. 14 ROKiT Chevrolet.
“The car actually felt really good,” Kirkwood continued. "I thought we had the time in it. We were much better on blacks (primary Firestone Racing tires) than we were on reds (the softer, alternate compound tires) and I’m not sure why that is, so we're going to go to the drawing board and figure that out. There’s some weather on the way for tomorrow, we're hoping that’s going to shake up some things. We are starting pretty far back so I’ve got my fingers crossed for some rain, but who knows. We’ve got a great group of guys around me working hard to get this car back towards the pointy end of the field.”
Tatiana Calderón had never turned laps before at the IMS road course. In her first practice session, an electrical issue saw her retire with about five minutes remaining. The No. 11 ROKiT Chevrolet team worked to resolve those problems in time for the second practice session.
The Colombian rookie qualified just behind her hero and two-time Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya. She will start 25th in tomorrow’s race.
“It was a busy day today,” said Calderón. “We had a little issue in free practice one so I missed a little bit of running but we managed to make some really good steps in free practice two. Qualifying I think we’re closer to the pace with these guys, so hopefully we can have some good weather tomorrow and fight for some positions. I’m starting just behind Montoya so that’s going to be quite a good race.”
Dalton Kellett summed up the day for the team but remained optimistic for the race. He will start 26th in his third GMR Indy Grand Prix in the No. 4 K-Line Insulators Chevrolet.
“A bit of a tough qualifying session for the team overall,” assessed Kellett. “We’re not really starting where want to but I still think we’ve made some improvements to the cars through the weekend. Historically, this track has been somewhere we’ve kind of struggled, but definitely something that we can learn and figure out. We’ve got warmup tomorrow and we can work on the racecar and go from there, so that’s the game plan. Last year was a bit of a red (alternate Firestone tire) race and three stops or so, so we’ll be working on some mileage and see what we’ve got for race pace.”
Will Power claimed his sixth pole at the IMS road course, marking his 64th career pole position with a fast time of 1 minute, 9.7664 seconds on the 14 turn, 2.439-mile road course. Alex Palou, Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly, Pato O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist round out the Firestone Fast 6.
Race day begins with a warm-up session at 10:30 AM ET on Peacock TV. The GMR Indy Grand Prix broadcast airs at 3:00 PM ET tomorrow on NBC. Preceding the race coverage is the network premiere of “The Club,” a unique documentary featuring the four 4-time Indy 500 winners -- A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves-- in conversation about their careers, the Speedway and the Indy 500. It airs at 2:00 PM ET.