Colton Herta Takes Toronto Pole in Chaotic Qualifying

Colton Herta became the first repeat pole sitter this season, earning the top spot in qualifying in IndyCar's return to Toronto.
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, on Pole at Toronto
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, on Pole at Toronto

After a wild practice session in the morning, the chaos continued in qualifying as several drivers were frustrated, and many more suffered incidents on the 11-turn street course. It was Herta that set a blistering final lap of 59.2698 seconds to take the top spot, earning his ninth career pole on Saturday.

“That was an intense session,” Herta said. “We hadn’t really found that time until right to the end. I’m happy. We put it all together. The car is amazing, the team is amazing. Thank you Honda! We rolled off the trucks really good. Alex was fastest yesterday. Another Andretti car up there today with us. We feel really confident. Made some good adjustments overnight and they seem to be working.”

"It couldn’t have been much better of a day," Herta continued. "We had a great race car this morning and did a little bit to it to adjust it and ended up being very fast this afternoon. On the used reds, the car just kind of came alive, which is intriguing and interesting for tomorrow’s race. We will have to go out and see, but I’m really happy with the team’s performance today."

Joining Herta on the front row tomorrow is Scott Dixon, who narrowly missed out on his first non-Indy 500 pole since 2016. The six-time series champion has three wins and a pair of runner-up finishes here, and has led the most (200) laps. Dixon was pleased with the result, despite making a slight mistake. “The first lap I messed up and I think it altered the run,” he said. “We can win from here, though. Congratulations to Colton.”

Row 2 features two supremely talented drivers in Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi. It was a great result for the Penske driver, considering that he had mechanical issues earlier in the day, which forced him to miss the entire practice session. The team made an engine change in his No. 2 Chevrolet before qualifying began.

Rossi has two podium finishes in the last three Toronto races but has never led a lap at this track in his four career starts. He will look to change that tomorrow, as he tries to snap his three-year winless streak. The last time IndyCar raced here at Toronto, Rossi was coming off of his most recent race win at Road America.

"We led the field in segment two," Rossi said. "It’s unfortunate because the guys that beat us only had one lap from their group in round one on their used reds so it’s an uphill battle. The car felt great, it’s just one of those things where it’s so tight and those extra laps make a difference."

The final two drivers in the Firestone Fast Six were rookie David Malukas, and Scott McLaughlin, who won the most recent race at Mid-Ohio. It has been a sensational weekend for Malukas, who is proving to be the real deal.

“The team did such an incredible job with all the decisions that we did," Malukas said. "The car wasn’t perfect, but I tried my best and I’m more exhausted than any race. You’ve got to push it all the way to the edge so I pushed it. I thought I was gonna hit the wall, especially right here in this last corner. It’s a spicy one, but overall, yeah, it was it was very good."

2022 Honda Indy Toronto - Qualifying Results
Pos Driver Team Engine
1Colton HertaAndretti AutosportHonda
2Scott DixonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
3Josef NewgardenTeam PenskeChevrolet
4Alexander RossiAndretti AutosportHonda
5David MalukasDale Coyne w/ HMD MotosportsHonda
6Scott McLaughlinTeam PenskeChevrolet
7Callum IlottJuncos Hollinger RacingChevrolet
8Felix RosenqvistArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
9Marcus EricssonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
10Christian LundgaardRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
11Romain GrosjeanAndretti AutosportHonda
12Devlin DeFrancescoAndretti AutosportHonda
13Jack HarveyRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
14Graham RahalRahal Letterman Lanigan RacingHonda
15Pato O'WardArrow McLaren SPChevrolet
16Will PowerTeam PenskeChevrolet
17Helio CastronevesMeyer Shank RacingHonda
18Simon PagenaudMeyer Shank RacingHonda
19Takuma SatoDale Coyne w/ Rick Ware RacingHonda
20Rinus VeeKayEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet
21Jimmie JohnsonChip Ganassi RacingHonda
22Alex PalouChip Ganassi RacingHonda
23Dalton KellettAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
24Kyle KirkwoodAJ Foyt RacingChevrolet
25Conor DalyEd Carpenter RacingChevrolet

After hitting the concrete barrier in practice yesterday, Callum Ilott bounced back nicely today with another brilliant qualifying performance. The Juncos Hollinger Racing driver will start 7th tomorrow, but was bummed to miss the Firestone Fast Six. "Considering I was the only one on used reds, that was special. Shame to miss out, I thought it was a great lap. We didn't have access to a simulator before coming here. It's not too bad, we did a good job." Felix Rosenqvist will start alongside him in Row 4.

Row 5 features Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson and RLL Racing rookie Christian Lundgaard. Andretti Autosport teammates Romain Grosjean and Devlin DeFrancesco start from Row 6 tomorrow. Both drivers have had their fair share of incidents this weekend in the concrete jungle.

Graham Rahal was the surprise story of the day yesterday when he finished 3rd in the opening practice session. Lady luck was not on his side today when he was caught out on track and was not able to advance. He starts 14th tomorrow as his frustrating season continues.

Rahal was asked if a new qualifying format should be considered at some point in the future. "I think we need to look at guaranteed green time," he said. "We work way too hard for this for luck to play such a role. I'm bummed. We had plenty of pace. We got 1 lap on Blacks and that's it."

The bad qualifying luck for Pato O'Ward continued, as he tapped the wall on his final lap. The Arrow McLaren SP driver was pushing hard but got bumped out of the first round and starts 15th tomorrow. "We haven't had speed all weekend," O'Ward said. "I think it's more of a 5 car thing, the 7 car seems to be fine. I don't know what else to tell you. We've been slow and haven't gotten better. If I go quicker, I'm bouncing off the walls. We just don't have it right now. We're not good on reds or blacks."

Kyle Kirkwood spun coming to the timing line as the second session came to a close, which caught out several drivers as they were trying to advance. Time ran out because of the red flag and Will Power was one of the drivers that were on the wrong side of things. The Penske driver was screaming into his helmet as he got out of his car but owned up to it after he calmed down.

"It's the rules," Power stated. "You understand every lap really counts because if it goes red, you may not get through. For me, the answer was to be in the top six when I crossed the line before that happens." He starts 16th tomorrow at a place where he has won three times and has five podium finishes. However, his last three results here are 21st, 18th, and 18th.

Earlier this week, Power noted that Chevrolet was bringing new engines this weekend for teams. "All the Chevys are switching out engines because they’re all up on mileage for this race," he said. "They are all on new engines." Despite some of the failures, Chevrolet has won seven of the nine races so far this season, including a clean sweep of all three street course events.

Simon Pagenaud came into this weekend as the defending race winner, taking the checkered flag from pole position. He was fast again yesterday but was not able to make it happen today in qualifying. The Meyer Shank Racing driver starts 18th tomorrow. He has finished 5th, 2nd, and 1st in his last three trips to Toronto.

After an eventful week for Alex Palou, the driver of the No. 10 car has had a rough weekend in Toronto. The current Ganassi driver clipped the wall in the morning practice session, which cost him valuable track time at a place where he has never raced. It also put a strain on the team to get his car repaired in time for qualifying but he had an engine issue during his run and brought out the red flag.

Colton Herta Takes Toronto Pole in Chaotic Qualifying

Palou starts 22nd tomorrow, but still believes his current team can repeat as champions. "I’m a warrior, so this is not going to stop me. If people think this is going to affect me on track or something, they don’t know who I am. It’s all good. It’s all good with the crew as well. Everybody is supporting us, and we have the same target for the season. We’re here to win. We have a championship to win."

With starting positions now all locked in, the only thing left to do is race. There will be a 30-minute warmup session at 10:55 ET tomorrow morning, with race coverage beginning at 3 PM on Peacock streaming.

Read More