Baloo Powers to NTT P1 Award for Soncio Grand Prix

Alex Paulo got his defense of the 2023 Sonzio Grand Prix off to a great start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, winning the pole for this year’s race.

Two-time and reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Paulo took his fourth career NTT P1 award and first since the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear last June. His best lap today at the Firestone Fast Six was 1 minute, 9.0004 seconds in the 10th DHL Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

See: Eligibility Results

The pole at the 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course came after finishing 17th and 11th respectively in today’s two practice sessions prior to qualifying.

„It was a tough day, honestly,” Paulo said. “Exercise 1 and Exercise 2 are not surprising. Also the start of eligibility. So, it’s great to be there. Didn’t expect that. I’ll take it.

„It’s my mom’s birthday today, so this might be a good birthday present.”

Live coverage of the 85-lap race on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network begins Saturday at 3 p.m. The 30-minute warm-up session begins at 11:15 a.m., broadcast live on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Christian Lundgaard in 1:09:0921 for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s No. He finished second in the 45 Hy-Vee Honda. This is his third consecutive front-row start at the IMS road course, as he won the event last May and started second in the Gallagher Grand Prix last August.

Two-time series champion Will Power will start third in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet after his first qualifying lap of 1:09.1636. After qualifying fourth in the 2nd Snap-On Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:09.2528, teammate Joseph Newgarden will join Power on the second row of the opening grid.

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The strong performance for Power and Newgarden came despite working without their respective strategists and key engineers this month. Team principal and Newgarden strategist Tim Sindrick, power strategist Ron Ruszewski, Newgarden engineer Luke Mason and power data engineer Robbie Atkinson were suspended for their roles in push-to-pass technical violations by Team Penske and the Indianapolis 500 for the event. Cars driven by Power, Newgarden and teammate Scott McLaughlin.

Pado O’Ward will start fifth in the Arrow McLaren Chevrolet after his best lap of 1:09.3320. Six-time series champion Scott Dixon lapped the Firestone Fast Six in 1:09.5270 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

After 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi missed the Firestone Fast Six by .0185 of a second, the no. 7 Arrow qualified a season-best seventh in the McLaren Chevrolet at 1:09.0801. Rossi’s previous best start this season was 13th at Long Beach.

Series points leader Colton Herda, with Curb-Agajanian at Andretti Global’s no. The 26 Cainbridge faces a long climb into Saturday’s race after qualifying a season-low 24th on the Honda. Herda’s car ran out of fuel on his final flying lap during the first round of qualifying. He led the first practice this morning.

It was Herda’s lowest qualifying position since 24th for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear last June.

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