Colton Herta, Detroit, 2024

Kirkwood’s late spin helps Herta to Detroit pole


Posted on

| Written by

Colton Herta secured pole position for the Detroit Grand Prix after benefitting from a red flag caused by Andretti team mate Kyle Kirkwood.

A spin for Kirkwood triggered a red flag when Herta was quickest ahead of Alex Palou. None of the drivers in the Fast Six could improve as the session resumed, handing the Andretti driver pole.

Palou will start alongside him on the front row, ahead of Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin.

Despite a crash in practice, McLaren rookie Theo Pourchaire bounced back to top the first group, progressing alongside Scott McLaughlin, Josef Newgarden, Kyle Kirkwood, Will Power and Santino Ferrucci. Championship leader Alex Palou set the pace in the second group, progressing along with Christian Lundgaard, Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon.

O’Ward’s second round ended in embarrassing fashion when he got stuck at turn five trying to get out of the way of cars behind, but stalled the car. After a red flag, the session resumed without the McLaren driver, with Palou, Newgarden, Dixon, McLaughlin, Kirkwood and Herta those who progressed through to the Fast Six.

Palou set the quickest time with a 1’00.699, before Herta took provisional pole by a tenth-and-a-half in the closing minutes. With less than a minute remaining, Kirkwood ran wide at the end of the long straight into the turn three escape road. Kirkwood’s attempt to spin-turn the car failed, stalling the car and bringing out the red flag.

The session resumed with every driver guaranteed a final flying lap, however a single outlap did not seem like enough to help the drivers prepare their tyres for a push lap and there were no improvements, leaving Herta on pole – his first for a year.

Palou will start second with Indy 500 winner Newgarden in third. McLaughlin will start fourth ahead of Dixon, with Kirkwood demoted to sixth after having his times deleted for causing the red flag. Pourchaire will start seventh ahead of Power, Ericsson and Ferrucci completing the top ten.

After their respective six second grid drops for exceeding their engine allocations, Graham Rahal and Kyffin Simpson will start down in 19th and 27th, respectively.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Qualifying result

Pos. No. Driver Time
1 26 Colton Herta 1’00.5475
2 10 Alex Palou 1’00.6995
3 2 Josef Newgarden 1’00.9607
4 3 Scott McLaughlin 1’01.3344
5 9 Scott Dixon 1’01.3905
6 27 Kyle Kirkwood 1’04.2926
7 6 Theo Pourchaire 1’00.7342
8 12 Will Power 1’00.7612
9 28 Marcus Ericsson 1’00.8505
10 14 Santino Ferrucci 1’01.0351
11 45 Christian Lundgaard 1’01.1663
12 5 Pato O’Ward 1’03.0479
13 20 Christian Rasmussen 1’01.3930
14 15 Graham Rahal 1’01.1336
15 77 Romain Grosjean 1’01.4933
16 30 Pietro Fittipaldi 1’01.3684
17 7 Alexander Rossi 1’01.5905
18 78 Agustin Canapino 1’01.5566
19 21 Rinus VeeKay 1’01.6040
20 11 Marcus Armstrong 1’01.7406
21 8 Linus Lundqvist 1’01.6297
22 60 Felix Rosenqvist 1’01.7441
23 4 Kyffin Simpson 1’01.7770
24 41 Sting Robb 1’01.8454
25 51 Tristan Vautier 1’02.2091
26 66 Helio Castroneves 1’01.9687
27 18 Jack Harvey 1’02.1185

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


Browse all IndyCar articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

4 comments on “Kirkwood’s late spin helps Herta to Detroit pole”

  1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    1st June 2024, 21:46

    I have watched a few indycar races, but don’t quite follow how qualifying works. It is pretty confusing when looking at the results chart. Is there anythign to do with average times? Many of the times look so close to one another and what confuses me most is that a great deal of the times don’t seem to increase in order to their position. As in how is Kirkwood 6th with a time that on this chart is over a second slower than any of the 27 drivers?

    There are also 3 times that are slower than the driver in 27th position. I don’t quite understand all this!

    Can anyone explain how it works?


    1. It’s because it’s a multi-stage system.

      The field of 27 were split into two groups of 13 and 14, like F2 and F3 qualifying.

      The top six of both groups progressed to the next round, with the grid 13-27 set by round one times.

      Then six are eliminated from round two to leave just six in the final round.

      Then the final session decides pole to sixth.

      The positions are set by stage results, with the times resetting for every session like with F1. Kirkwood’s two best times were deleted, leaving him with just a warm up lap, which is why he was so much slower than the others.

  2. RandomMallard
    2nd June 2024, 0:31

    Gotta say, mighty impressive from Pourchaire in only his 4th Indycar race weekend!

  3. Stephen Higgins
    2nd June 2024, 0:40

    I miss Belle Isle.

Comments are closed.