Herta takes dominant pole in Nashville after Newgarden crashes

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Colton Herta won the pole position for the inaugural Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, continuing his dominant run of form since the start of the weekend.

After leading the first two practice sessions, Herta was able to use his superior pace on the harder primary compound “black” tyres in the first round to save a set of new, alternate-compound tyres for the Fast Six phase of qualifying. On his last flying lap, the Andretti driver claimed the top spot with a lap time of 1’13.684.

“What we did in Q1 really helped us there, with being able to transfer on the black tyres,” said Herta after qualifying. “We’re really in a league of our own.”

Chip Ganassi Racing drivers and championship contenders Scott Dixon and Álex Palou finished the session with the second and third fastest times, respectively. However championship leader Palou will take a six-place grid penalty due to an unapproved engine change prior to the start of the weekend. He will therefore start tomorrow’s race in ninth place, one position behind his closest rival in the points, McLaren SP’s Patricio O’Ward.

With Palou’s penalty, Alexander Rossi moves up to third on the grid, ahead of Felix Rosenqvist with his best qualifying result of the season in fourth. Romain Grosjean will start fifth, followed by pending free agent Jack Harvey in sixth, and Simon Pagenaud – best of the Penske drivers – in seventh.

Josef Newgarden, a native of nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, will start 12th after his fastest lap in the second round of qualifying was deleted for causing a local yellow flag. Newgarden missed the apex at turn 11 and smashed the wall going onto South 2nd Street, while trying to improve on a time that would have sent him through to the Fast Six. “You can’t wreck and not get penalised. It’s on me,” Newgarden laughed in his post-qualifying interview.

Rookie Jimmie Johnson brought out the only red flag of the afternoon when he crashed at turn 10 on his warm-up lap just two minutes into the first round of qualifying. Rinus VeeKay and Scott McLaughlin also hit the wall during the first round, leaving them unable to advance in the session. VeeKay will start 22nd, McLaughlin 23rd, and Johnson 25th.

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Music City Grand Prix provisional grid

PositionCarDriverTeamEngine
126Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
29Scott DixonGanassiHonda
327Alexander RossiAndrettiHonda
47Felix RosenqvistMcLaren SPChevrolet
551Romain GrosjeanCoyne/RWRHonda
660Jack HarveyMeyer ShankHonda
722Simon PagenaudPenskeChevrolet
85Patricio O’WardMcLaren SPChevrolet
910Alex PalouGanassiHonda
1029James HinchcliffeAndretti SteinbrennerHonda
1112Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
122Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
1315Graham RahalRLLHonda
1428Ryan Hunter-ReayAndrettiHonda
156Helio CastronevesMeyer ShankHonda
1614Sebastien BourdaisFoytChevrolet
1745Santino FerrucciRLLHonda
188Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
194Dalton KellettFoytChevrolet
2020Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
2159Max ChiltonCarlinChevrolet
2221Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
233Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
2430Takuma SatoRLLHonda
2548Jimmie JohnsonGanassiHonda
2618Ed JonesCoyne/VasserHonda
2752Cody WareCoyne/RWRHonda

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RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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  • 7 comments on “Herta takes dominant pole in Nashville after Newgarden crashes”

    1. Herta crushes the field. The rest of the field are going to have to find more speed or he’s going to walk away from them tomorrow. Should be a wild race.

      1. Whoever nails the strategy (gets lucky with yellows) will win. Like you said, will be a wild race. I’ll get the popcorn ready haha.

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        8th August 2021, 8:08

        Herta crushes the field

        Literally!
        This reminds of Hamiltons 2018 Singapore pole, but if anything this was even more spectacular (and repeat).
        If you only watch one Indycar race this season, watch this one, its going to be insane!

        1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk
          Hamiton’s 2018 Singapore pole?? Come on man, there was literally 1 person that Hamilton was competing against (because only 1 person had the same quality car) and only 4 other people having competetive cars. And he only won the pole by 0.3sec, so there is no comparison there.
          Herta’s pole is SPECTACULAR.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th August 2021, 9:45

      I’m confused. 2 Scott Dixons? Shouldn’t the lower one be Ericsson?

      1. someone or something
        8th August 2021, 22:13

        Ah, thanks for bringing this up. I was wondering if Ericsson was injured or replaced for whatever other reason, because I simply couldn’t find him in the results.

    3. This was a really special performance Colton Herta, kind of like a Senna moment where a driver shows they have something really special. For anyone who didn’t watch the session, the announcers thought their timing screens were broken because Herta was at times 2 seconds a lap faster than anyone else. Just amazing

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