LEXINGTON, OH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda Indy 200 presented by The 2023 Accord Hybrid.
Herta’s fast lap of 1 minute, 6.3096 seconds around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda was just .0432 seconds quicker than Graham Rahal turned in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda.
The pole position is the second straight for Herta, who won the pole in the series last race at Road America and 11th of his career.
“Really happy to get two in a row,” said Herta, who credited using the Primary Firestone Tire and not the Alternate tire choice as the difference maker. “After practice 1 it didn’t seem like a big enough jump, and it got a little bit bigger in qualifying than it was in practice, but we were in a position where we weren’t happy with our first set of tires that we ran on reds so we didn’t want to run on them and we didn’t want to run on our second, so we only had one choice, and it kind of made the choice for us, and I think it was the right one.”
Rahal, who was born an hour south of the track, was obviously disappointed to miss out on the pole position.
“I’m not going to lie — it was a good lap, and I knew it was solid,” said Rahal said. “I was bummed to not get a pole. But man, I was just walking up the stairs wondering where four/hundredths is. But at the same time that’s INDYCAR racing today. I think the top four of us were only separated by less than a tenth. It’s unbelievable.”
The Firestone Fast 6 were all powered by Honda Performance Development engines, the first time one manufacturer has swept the final qualifying group since 2016 when Chevrolet did at Watkins Glen International. It was Honda’s first such sweep since the format was implemented more than a decade ago.
“I just think they’re (Honda) doing a really good job right now of pushing the envelope again, you know, more.”
Herta’s teammate Kyle Kirkwood qualified third in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda with a fast lap of 1-minute, 6.3693 seconds.
INDYCAR Championship Points Leader Alex Palou, who has won three of the last four races, will start fourth in the No. 10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
“I’m really happy, I would say this is my best qualifying here at Mid-Ohio,” said Palou. “Last couple of years I wasn’t able to make it to the Fast 6. Only a tenth off, really close, we tried hard, but just missed a little bit on my best lap. Happy to be starting P4 and with 80 laps to go, it’ll be an exciting race tomorrow.”
Rahal’s teammate Christian Lundgaard will start fifth in the No. 45 Hyvee Honda.
Palou’s teammate, Six-time Series Champion Scott Dixon will line up sixth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
“The first sector went really well, but second one was kinda tight,” said Dixon. “I think the car had better speed. Honestly, I think we just went with the wrong tire strategy at the end there, using maybe the wrong set of reds. It looked like the blacks should have been the way we went, because we ran a lot quicker in Q1 on a new set of blacks. I think that would have got us maybe fighting for the front there. Starting sixth, the car’s got good pace.”
Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud was held out of qualifying as a precaution following a scary accident in Turn 4 during Saturday morning’s practice that saw the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda suffer brake failure and barrel-roll through the gravel trap multiple times before coming to a stop against a tire barrier.
A wild ride for @simonpagenaud.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) July 1, 2023
The 2016 INDYCAR Series Champion was evaluated and released by the INDYCAR Medical team, although per protocol he was not cleared to return to action Saturday. He will be evaluated Sunday morning. The team has asked series veteran Conor Daly to be on standby in the event Pagenaud can’t drive in the race.
The next on-track activity will be Sunday’s morning warm-up from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Pre-race activities start at 1:00 p.m. with the green flag dropping at 1:30 p.m. The race will be televised on USA Network and Peacock and can be heard on the INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Chip Ganassi Racing unveils Alex Palou’s No. 10 DHL Honda
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing unveiled the livery for two-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou’s DHL Honda on Tuesday. DHL signed on as the primary sponsor this off-season in a multi-year partnership with the team.
The No. 10 car will carry the familiar yellow of DHL’s branding but adds a splash of red that has been synonymous with the Ganassi team for decades.
“As everybody can see, this is quite the amazing livery,” said Palou. “The No. 10 DHL Honda looks very aggressive, and it will certainly stand out on the track, which is great. I can’t wait to start the season with a run in this livery at Sebring before we kick things off in St. Pete. It’s looking like the perfect livery to try to defend our title in 2024 and I cannot wait to deliver on-track here soon.”
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding takes place March 8-10 on the streets of St. Pete.
DHL joining Chip Ganassi Racing as primary sponsor for No. 10 Honda and Alex Palou
INDIANAPOLIS, IN and PLANTATION, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing and DHL Express are teaming up in a new multi-year partnership that will see DHL become the official logistics partner of the 15-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champions and the primary sponsor of two-time and reigning Series Champion Alex Palou and the No. 10 Honda team.
“I am extremely proud to welcome DHL to the Chip Ganassi Racing family,” said Chip Ganassi. “It is an honor to partner with an organization that shares our fundamental values of teamwork, growth, responsibility, and the pursuit of excellence. Together, we are committed to embodying those values both on and off the racetrack. I am looking forward to Alex and the No. 10 team defending their 2023 title with DHL on board. The road ahead holds great promise and potential, and I can’t wait to get started.”
DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry and one of the most international companies, with about 395,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Chip Ganassi Racing, an organization that has a rich history of success, deeply rooted in principles shared by DHL, such as a commitment to supporting the communities we call home, and the relentless pursuit of excellence by investing in our people who embody speed, passion, and dedication,” said Mike Parra, CEO of DHL Express Americas and Head of Global Sponsorships. “As we sponsor this winning motorsports team with Alex Palou behind the wheel, we look forward to many winning moments both on and off the track in the months and years to come.”
“It’s super exciting to announce our new partnership with DHL, a global leader in logistics. Representing such a successful and widely recognized brand is a true honor,” said Palou. “Their iconic yellow and red colors not only stand out, but they also remind me of my native Spain’s colors. As our team looks back at our remarkable success last year, we are eager to carry that momentum forward and aim for a third title with the support of DHL. I am especially thrilled to hit the ground running alongside the dedicated men and women of our 10-car crew in 2024.”
Racing Notebook: DHL partners with Ganassi; Hunt Bros partners with Penske and more
(Pittsburgh, PA) – 2024 partnership programs a coming together as two of the biggest names in racing, Ganassi and Penske, each announce new deals plus PPMS announces their plans for the new year and Henessey Performance packs some punch for GM fans in today’s Racing Notebook.
DHL Partners with Ganassi and Palou
- DHL and Chip Ganassi Racing are teaming up for a new partnership. DHL becomes the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and two-time NTT IndyCar Champion Alex Palou. DHL express also becomes the Official Logistics Partner of the 15-time Championship team. “I am extremely proud to welcome DHL to the Chip Ganassi Racing family,” said Chip Ganassi. “It is an honor to partner with an organization that shares our fundamental values of teamwork, growth, responsibility, and the pursuit of excellence.”
Hunt Brothers Pizza Partners with Penske, Logano, Blaney
- Team Penske and Hunt Brothers Pizza are teaming up in multi-year deal that will feature the convenience store pizza brand on the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang driven by two-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Champion Joey Logano for select races beginning in 2024. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also be an associate sponsor on defending NASCAR Cup Series Champion Ryan Blaney’s No. 12 Ford Mustang for the 2024 season.
PPMS Announces 2024 Schedule
- Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway is planning a 29-race schedule for 2024 with an opening day St. Patrick’s Day Weekend. The highlight of the schedule is the expansion of the Pittsburgher weekend to a 2-day event for the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Series battling for almost $200,000!