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Hybrid Growing Pains Don't Hinder Usual Suspects: Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Qualifying Report

Written by Jake O’Callaghan

Today, the IndyCar Series had qualifying at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to set the grid for tomorrow’s race. This session was special as it was the first-ever competitive IndyCar session using hybrid engines, which had been implemented in advance of this weekend. This added another layer of complexity for the drivers and teams. Qualifying position is crucial in Mid-Ohio, as 26 out of 40 winners in IndyCar here have won from the front row.

Round 1

Group 1

Toby Sowery, making his debut in IndyCar, had a difficult qualifying. His car apparently had some technical issues in the power unit and lost a significant amount of running in the session. He managed to get out of the pits about two minutes before the chequered flag flew.

Group 1 was topped by Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) driver Alex Palou, showing the pace he and his team have brought to near-on every race this season. David Malukas finished an impressive second in just his second qualifying session this season, continuing the momentum from his impressive return from a broken hand last race in Laguna Seca. Alex Rossi was third, with 2022 Mid-Ohio winner Scott McLaughlin in fourth. Christian Rasmussen was the last driver to cross the line and put his Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) car in an impressive fifth place, making his first-ever Fast 12 appearance. Marcus Ericsson was the sixth and final driver to make the transfer to the Fast 12.

Multiple heavy-hitters were ruled out in this session, among them Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) driver Felix Rosenqvist, Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood, and Arrow McLaren’s Nolan Siegel. Ohio native Graham Rahal also failed to make the transfer. Toby Sowery only managed to log one lap and finished the session in last place.

Group 2

This group provided a medley of teams progressing to the Fast 12, as five different teams took the six transfer spots. CGR’s Marcus Armstrong finished in first, Andretti Global’s Colton Herta in second, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) driver Christian Lundgaard third, with Pato O’Ward finishing fourth for Arrow McLaren, Linus Lundqvist fifth for CGR, and Juncos Hollinger Racing (JHR) driver Romain Grosjean taking the final transfer spot in sixth.

Similar to Group 1, there were some huge names ruled out in this session. Scott Dixon, who currently sits third in the championship, was bumped in seventh. Along with Dixon, Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden was miles off the top six, bluntly stating: “the lap was mediocre.”

Fast 12

There was some variability in tyre strategy in this session, with most fitting the black-walled primaries for their first runs before fitting the red alternates for the final laps.

Alex Palou once again topped the session, finishing ahead of O’Ward by just about one tenth of a second. Andretti Global’s Colton Herta finished third. However, the stunning result of the session was David Malukas, finishing fourth after being out of IndyCar for over five months. Mid-Ohio is one of the most physical tracks in IndyCar, but he did not let his healing hand limit him and put himself decisively into the Fast 6. CGR’s Marcus Armstrong was in fifth, with Marcus Ericsson in sixth.

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin qualified seventh after a difficult-handling car prevented him from transferring. Departing Arrow McLaren driver Alex Rossi qualified eighth, the eliminated drivers behind him being Rasmussen, Lundgaard, Lundqvist, and Grosjean. 

Fast 6

After the first runs, Pato O’Ward sat first, with Malukas in second. Palou and Herta sat just behind, while Armstrong and Ericsson would only do a single run at the very end of the session.

In the end, Alex Palou completed a qualifying sweep, securing pole position by a miniscule two thousandths of a second ahead of Pato O’Ward. David Malukas bookended a fantastic qualifying display by finishing third. Colton Herta finished fourth, with Armstrong fifth and Ericsson sixth.

Alex Palou gave his thoughts on the qualifying: “We knew we had a really fast car, the No.10 car is gonna look good on the front row,” “I’ve been super comfortable and the first pole in the hybrid era, pretty happy about that.”

David Malukas spoke on his third place qualifying effort for Meyer Shank Racing: “It’s incredible… this team, the chemistry that they’ve set up for me, they’ve given me the environment to really reach my maximum potential here.”

Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Qualifying Results

  1. Alex Palou

  2. Pato O’Ward

  3. David Malukas

  4. Colton Herta

  5. Marcus Armstrong

  6. Marcus Ericsson

  7. Scott McLaughlin

  8. Alexander Rossi

  9. Christian Rasmussen

  10. Christian Lundgaard

  11. Linus Lundqvist

  12. Romain Grosjean

  13. Felix Rosenqvist

  14. Scott Dixon

  15. Kyle Kirkwood

  16. Will Power

  17. Nolan Siegel

  18. Josef Newgarden

  19. Graham Rahal

  20. Rinus Veekay

  21. Santino Ferrucci

  22. Agustin Canapino

  23. Pietro Fittipaldi

  24. Kyffin Simpson

  25. Toby Sowery

  26. Sting Ray Robb

  27. Jack Harvey


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