Colton Herta became the youngest pole winner in Indy car history after a spirited fight with Alexander Rossi during qualifying for tomorrow’s Rev Group Grand Prix at Road America.

The 19-year-old Californian found himself competing against IndyCar’s top drivers in the Firestone Fast Six including series title contenders Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi with Will Power and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato.

The session came down to tyre strategy as Rossi used two sets of red tyres to log two hot laps. Herta took a different approach of running two hot laps on one set of reds.

Rossi drew first blood and set a benchmark lap of 1 minute 43.1693 seconds while Herta bided his time and rolled out with two minutes remaining. Herta wasted no time on the track and lapped the 4.014-mile road course in 1:42.9920s - a clear .1773s ahead of Rossi.

The 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship runner up explained that determining how quickly the tyres came up to temps was key in determining his strategy.

“It took two laps for the used tyres to get up to temps,” said Herta. “That was the thinking in doing two laps instead of the other guys doing one and two or one and one. I’m just real proud of the guys on the Gess Green car. We’ve been fast all weekend, and this is the cherry on top.”

Rossi will roll off second for the third time this season as he hopes to cut into Newgarden’s 25 point lead. Power used the same tyre strategy as Rossi and ended up third ahead of his Team Penske teammate and defending race winner Josef Newgarden in fourth.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammates Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato ended up fifth and sixth after making the Fast Six together for the first time since Barber in April

Sebastien Bourdais wound up seventh ahead of Spencer Pigot in eighth and the Hondas of James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti completed the top ten.

Scott Dixon found himself on this outside looking in after advancing to Q2. The 2017 winner at Road America saw his Honda engine expired following the checkered flag in Q1.

Former series champions Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud also found themselves buried in the field after their share of on-track troubles. Hunter-Reay got stuck behind by Bourdais on his peel out lap and then snapped loose in Turn 3 of his flying lap which left him 15th.

Pagenaud ended up right alongside Hunter-Reay in 16th after running wide in Turn 7 and missed out on Q2 by a slim .03s.

 

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