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Romain Grosjean Takes Second IndyCar Pole of 2023 at Barber

Romain Grosjean - Children_s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix - By_ Joe Skibinski_ReferenceImageWithoutWatermark_m77534

Romain Grosjean became the first repeat polesitter of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season by topping Saturday’s (April 29) nail-biting qualifying session at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Grosjean will be followed to the green flag in Sunday’s (April 30) race by Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward. The Frenchman was the only Andretti driver to advance to the Firestone Fast Six, where five different teams were represented by six drivers.

“I’ve got a Hell of a team!” Grosjean told NBC after exiting his car. “We’re doing such a great job this year. The car is awesome, we’ve got three teammates that I can rely on … from the moment we started quali, I knew I had it. We’re starting in the best position, and now we’ve got 90 laps to lead, so we’ll see tomorrow but I’m really proud of my guys and really happy with what we’ve been doing.”

Firestone Fast Six

The Fast Six round was free of on-track incidents, with an organic, old-fashioned shootout among Grosjean, Palou, O’Ward, Christian Lundgaard, Scott McLaughlin and Scott Dixon.

Despite ending the round at the bottom of the time chart, Lundgaard’s sixth-place starting position for Sunday’s race will be a relief to his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team, who have struggled for pace to this point in the season. Lundgaard will line up behind McLaughlin and Dixon, who both had quiet sessions.

Round 2

Rinus VeeKay and Will Power opened Round 2 with a string of unpleasant encounters on track. As the field rolled around the circuit queuing up to start banker laps, VeeKay overtook Power, violating an unspoken agreement among IndyCar drivers that prohibits overtaking among drivers who aren’t on timed laps. Following an investigation, race control opted to take no further action on the matter.

VeeKay and Power both ran off-course in the closing moments of Round 2, preventing their advancement to the Firestone Fast Six. VeeKay later addressed the incident with Power; when asked by NBC if he violated a gentleman’s agreement, VeeKay replied: “Maybe a little, but am I gentleman? You know, no hard feelings.”

Eliminated from Round 2 were:

7. Josef Newgarden

8. Felix Rosenqvist

9. Rinus VeeKay

10. Alexander Rossi

11. Will Power

12. Kyle Kirkwood

Round 1 Group 1

Notable appearances near the top of the time chart in Group 1 included VeeKay, Helio Castroneves and Sting Ray Robb. Late fast laps from Kirkwood…

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