Photo: Walter G Arce Sr./ASP, Inc.

Marco Andretti Soars to Dual 1 IndyCar Pole in Belle Isle

By Aaron Bearden, Open Wheel Editor

DETROIT — For the first time in nearly five years, Marco Andretti will lead the Verizon IndyCar Series field to the green flag this afternoon in Detroit.

Andretti laid down a quick time of 1:14.8514 – the only circuit completed under the 1:15 mark – to lead Group 2 and claim the Verizon P1 Award for Saturday’s Dual 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park.

The time came in Andretti’s final lap, knocking fast rookie Robert Wickens off the pole as the checkered flag flew. It gains the Pennsylvanian a championship point, and serves as his first IndyCar pole on a street course, and fifth pole overall. Andretti’s last pole run came at Pocono Raceway in July 2013.

“I’m definitely embarrassed to say it’s only my first, but I’ve been outside pole so any times on road and street courses,” Andretti said afterward. “Extremely pleased to execute today. I think yesterday I knew we had the speed and I clipped the wall when I was on a lap better than Ryan (Hunter-Reay), so I knew we had it in the car. I knew today we just had to execute, and I was able to do that.”

Wickens followed in second, with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe rounding out the top five in Group 2. Completing the session were Ed Jones, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, Sebastien Bourdais, Gabby Chaves, Matheus Leist and Rene Binder.

The group will all line up in the odd positions due to Andretti’s quick time.

Scott Dixon led the way in Group 1, throwing down a lap of 1:15.4186 in the final minutes of the session to soar to the top of the charts. Alexander Rossi followed in second after falling just .076 seconds short of Dixon’s fast time. Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power overcame a scrape of the wall to slot in third, with Graham Rahal and Max Chilton completing the top five.

Rounding out the group with Spencer Pigot, Josef Newgarden, Zach Veach, Santino Ferrucci, Jordan King and Charlie Kimball. They’ll roll off in the even-numbered positions.

Coverage for Dual 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Dual 1 Starting Lineup

  1. Marco Andretti
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Robert Wickens
  4. Alexander Rossi
  5. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  6. Will Power
  7. Takuma Sato
  8. Graham Rahal
  9. James Hinchcliffe
  10. Max Chilton
  11. Ed Jones
  12. Spencer Pigot
  13. Simon Pagenaud
  14. Josef Newgarden
  15. Tony Kanaan
  16. Zach Veach
  17. Sebastien Bourdais
  18. Santino Ferrucci
  19. Gabby Chaves
  20. Jordan King
  21. Matheus Leist
  22. Charlie Kimball
  23. Rene Binder

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.