Herta, Honda Claim Portland Pole

by The Earl of Indy, Robert Earl |

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 31, 2019) – After leading practice on Friday, Honda-powered rookie Colton Herta again led the way today at Portland International Raceway today, claiming the pole on his final qualifying lap for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland.

Advancing through the first two rounds of NTT IndyCar Series knockout qualifying, Herta trailed early-pace setter Will Power after all six final-round qualifiers made their initial laps. Exiting the pits with just over a minute remaining in the session, Herta posted a lap of 57.8111 seconds around the 1.9-mile PIR road course to edge Power by 19 one-thousandths of a second. Today’s performance is the second IndyCar Series pole of the season for the 19-year-old rookie, with Herta’s first pole having come on the Road America road course in June.

Defending series champion Scott Dixon will start third as Honda drivers claimed five of the top six starting positions. Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, qualified fifth. Making just his ninth road course start of the season, Jack Harvey will start fourth for Meyer Shank Racing. Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the Fast Six qualifiers for Andretti Autosport.

We always planned to do three-and-one [three laps on the Firestone primary ‘Black’ sidewall tires, and one lap on the softer compound ‘Reds’ in the final round of qualifying].

We didn’t have it on the ‘Blacks’, I think we were like five-hundredths [of a second] off Will [Power].

Obviously, ‘Reds’ were the right choice and we pulled it off. It’s always a good day when you can beat Will Power in the Fast Six [final qualifying]. Before I knew we won the pole position, I went on the radio and heard everyone cheering, so to find out that way was really cool. This is awesome.

Colton Herta

Television coverage of Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland, the 16th and next-to-last round of the 2019 season, begins at 3 p.m. EDT on NBC.

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