Herta breaks Long Beach track record on his way to pole position


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Colton Herta, who won last year’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach from 14th on the grid, will start this year’s race from pole position after setting a new course record during qualifying on Saturday.

Herta had the dominant car throughout all three stages of qualifying, leading his group in the first round, then leading the second round. He took pole with a time of 1’05.310, which eclipsed Hélio Castroneves’ previous course record set in 2017, by nearly a full second.

What could have been an all-Andretti Autosport front row was thrown out with just two seconds left in the Fast Six session, when Romain Grosjean, the fastest driver in the morning’s practice session, crashed into the barrier at turn five. He was able to drive his wounded car back to the pits, but had his fastest lap time deleted for causing a red flag, moving him down to sixth on the grid.

That moved Josef Newgarden, the winner of the previous race at Texas Motor Speedway, to the outside of the front row alongside Herta.

Reigning IndyCar champion Álex Palou starts third, at the venue where he clinched the 2021 title. He’ll be followed by McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist, who had another great qualifying effort in fourth, and two-time Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi in fifth, still looking for his first victory since 2019. Herta will look to replicate Rossi’s feat of winning back-to-back Long Beach Grands Prix in 2018-19.

Will Power, who Grosjean beat to the last Fast Six berth by a one ten-thousandth of a second, qualified in seventh place. Marcus Ericsson was eighth, championship leader Scott McLaughlin ninth, and Friday practice pace setter Simon Pagenaud was tenth.

Pato O’Ward and top rookie Kyle Kirkwood will share the sixth row, qualifying 11th and 12th respectively.

Graham Rahal missed out on advancing to second round qualifying after being impeded by Jimmie Johnson. Johnson finished last in Group One and will start 25th, driving with a broken bone in his right hand that he sustained after crashing into the turn five wall during Friday practice.

Scott Dixon and Rinus VeeKay were also eliminated during the first round of qualifying – Dixon will start 14th, ahead of VeeKay in 15th.

Rookie Devlin DeFrancesco will start tomorrow’s race from 23rd after a six-place grid penalty handed down before the weekend, for avoidable contact in the previous race at Texas – specifically, for his role in a multi-car accident that took himself, Rahal, and Castroneves out of the 375 mile race.

Tomorrow’s 38th running of the Long Beach Grand Prix begins at 8:45 PM BST.

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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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  • 3 comments on “Herta breaks Long Beach track record on his way to pole position”

    1. Can’t wait for the race! Especially as the F1 GP was to early for me today.

    2. RandomMallard
      10th April 2022, 13:33

      Herta seems to absolutely love these street tracks. Convincingly won Long Beach last year despite not making out of the first segment of qualifying and then he goes and completely obliterates the lap record here. And he dominated the Nashville weekend last year until one small lock-up put him in the wall right near the end as he was chasing down Ericsson.

      1. RandomMallard
        10th April 2022, 21:58

        Turns out Nashville was good foreshadowing…

    Comments are closed.

    Position Car Driver Team Engine
    1 26 Colton Herta Andretti Honda
    2 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
    3 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
    4 7 Felix Rosenqvist McLaren SP Chevrolet
    5 27 Alexander Rossi Andretti Honda
    6 28 Romain Grosjean Andretti Honda
    7 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
    8 8 Marcus Ericsson Ganassi Honda
    9 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
    10 60 Simon Pagenaud Meyer Shank Honda
    11 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren SP Chevrolet
    12 14 Kyle Kirkwood Foyt Chevrolet
    13 15 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
    14 6 Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Honda
    15 21 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
    16 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda
    17 20 Conor Daly Carpenter Chevrolet
    18 18 David Malukas Coyne/HMD Honda
    19 30 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
    20 45 Jack Harvey RLL Honda
    21 77 Callum Ilott Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
    22 51 Takuma Sato Coyne/RWR Honda
    23 29 Devlin DeFrancesco Andretti Steinbrenner Honda
    24 4 Dalton Kellett Foyt Chevrolet
    25 48 Jimmie Johnson Ganassi Honda
    26 11 Tatiana Calderon Foyt Chevrolet