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Grosjean Captures Second Pole of 2023 with Fast Lap at Barber – Motorsports Tribune

Grosjean Captures Second Pole of 2023 with Fast Lap at Barber – Motorsports Tribune

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Romain Grosjean is getting really good at this whole qualifying thing.

For the second time in 2023, the Andretti Autosport driver will lead the field to green in an NTT IndyCar Series race after scoring the pole for the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Frenchman started the weekend off on the wrong foot when mechanical issues forced an engine change between first practice on Friday and the start of on-track activity on Saturday, but he didn’t let that keep him down heading into qualifying.

Grosjean started the Fast Six with the fastest lap before being eclipsed by Scott McLaughlin and Pato O’Ward, but he returned to the track shortly thereafter to assert his dominance with a lap of one minute, 5.839 seconds around the 2.3-mile, 17-turn permanent road course.

In addition to it being Grosjean’s second pole of the season, he also extended the streak of different pole winners at the track, which now sits at eight different drivers over the last eight races.

“I’ve got a hell of a team,” Grosjean said as he celebrated the pole in a mob of Andretti crew members on pit road. “We’re doing such a great job this year. The car is awesome and I’ve got three teammates that I can rely on, so I went with their setup for the baseline we had. From the moment we started [qualifying], I knew I had it, so I just didn’t want to mess it up that last lap.

“We’re starting in the best position, but now we’ve got 90 laps to lead. We’ll see tomorrow, but I’m really happy with my guys and with everything we’re doing.”

Alex Palou kept up the speed he showed earlier in the day by qualifying second, joining Grosjean on the front row. Defending race winner O’Ward will start third, with McLaughlin rolling off fourth.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon starts fifth in his quest to finally check a win at Barber off on his resume and Christian Lundgaard continued to keep his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team up front with a sixth-place qualifying effort.

Josef Newgarden started qualifying as the fastest within his group in the first round. However, he was “frustrated and annoyed” after his run in the second round, which left the two-time champion just 0.0617 seconds shy of being able to transfer to the Fast Six. Newgarden will roll off seventh at the track that he has won at three times previously.

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