Photo: Riley S. Bridges/ASP, Inc.

Palou Powers to Precise Pole at Laguna Seca


MONTEREY, Calif. – Reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Alex Palou maintained the pressure in his quest for a third title by winning the NTT P1 Award for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Palou earned his second pole of the season and fifth of his career with a best lap of 1 minute, 7.1465 seconds in the No. 10 DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Palou is second in the championship standings, five points behind Will Power, who qualified 15th in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet.

“It was really tough, really tight all qualifying to get to the Fast 12 and then the Fast Six,” Palou said. “It was really tricky with track conditions. As soon as there was some wind, you couldn’t really finish the lap because there was no grip.

“Really happy. The car was on rails today, so the best starting position for tomorrow.”

Live coverage of the 95-lap race starts at 6 p.m. ET Sunday on the USA Network, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 30-minute warmup precedes the race at 3 p.m. ET, live on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

The pole continued an impressive history for Palou at this picturesque Northern California road course, an 11-turn, 2.238-mile layout that includes the famous “Corkscrew” complex of turns. Palou won this race in 2022 and finished second in 2021 and third in 2023.

Kyle Kirkwood will join Palou on the front row after a best lap of 1:07.2204 in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda of Andretti Global. The second starting spot was Kirkwood’s best performance in qualifying since winning the pole and the race in April 2023 at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Felix Rosenqvist continued his reinvigoration with Meyer Shank Racing, qualifying third at 1:07.2917 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. Colton Herta, who led practice Saturday morning, qualified fourth at 1:07.2972 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian. Herta won this race in 2019 and 2021.

Alexander Rossi qualified fifth at 1:07.3594 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet. Christian Lundgaard rounded out the Firestone Fast Six and Row 3 at 1:07.5112 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda fielded by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

The other three drivers in the top five of the championship standings – third-place Scott Dixon, fourth-place Pato O’Ward and fifth-place Scott McLaughlin – will try to keep pace with Palou from the fourth and fifth rows of the starting grid.

McLaughlin qualified seventh in the No. 3 Good Ranchers Team Penske Chevrolet, O’Ward ninth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet and Dixon 10th in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey Starting Lineup

RankCarDriver NameC/E/TTimeSpeedSession
110Palou, AlexD/H/F01:07.1465119.988Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
227Kirkwood, KyleD/H/F01:07.2204119.856Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
360Rosenqvist, FelixD/H/F01:07.2917119.729Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
426Herta, ColtonD/H/F01:07.2972119.720Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
57Rossi, AlexanderD/C/F01:07.3594119.609Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
645Lundgaard, ChristianD/H/F01:07.5112119.340Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six
73McLaughlin, ScottD/C/F01:07.3994119.538Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
877Grosjean, RomainD/C/F01:07.4286119.486Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
95O’Ward, PatoD/C/F01:07.4900119.378Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
109Dixon, ScottD/H/F01:07.5874119.206Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
1111Armstrong, MarcusD/H/F01:07.6143119.158Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
1266Malukas, DavidD/H/F01:07.8422118.758Elimination Round 2 / Top 12
1378Canapino, AgustinD/C/F01:07.8976118.661Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
142Newgarden, JosefD/C/F01:07.7246118.964Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
1512Power, WillD/C/F01:08.0178118.451Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
168Lundqvist, Linus (R)D/H/F01:07.8056118.822Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
1714Ferrucci, SantinoD/C/F01:08.0344118.422Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
1828Ericsson, MarcusD/H/F01:07.9233118.616Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
1915Rahal, GrahamD/H/F01:08.0922118.322Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
2021VeeKay, RinusD/C/F01:07.9897118.500Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
2120Rasmussen, Christian (R)D/C/F01:08.3711117.839Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
224Simpson, Kyffin (R)D/H/F01:08.1571118.209Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
236Siegel, Nolan (R)D/C/F01:08.6785117.312Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
2430Fittipaldi, PietroD/H/F01:08.1824118.165Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
2541Robb, Sting RayD/C/F01:09.1304116.545Elimination Round 1 / Group 1
2618Harvey, JackD/H/F01:08.4730117.664Elimination Round 1 / Group 2
2751Ghiotto, Luca (R)D/H/F01:08.5078117.604Elimination Round 1 / Group 2

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