Colton Herta continued the Herta family’s success at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca by rocketing to the pole for the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey.

Herta, who was just announced to move to Andretti Autosport for the 2020 season, was uncatchable each qualifying group and entered the Firestone Fast Six with all four championship contenders – Josef Newgarden, Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud along with James Hinchcliffe.

The 19-year-old rookie of the year contender draw first blood in the six-minute session and topped the charts easily with Scott Dixon in tow. The six-car field then opted to switch to red tyres which propelled Scott Dixon to move to the top of the pylon.

Herta was not to be denied as bested Dixon by a slim .0426s with a benchmark pole worthy lap of 1 minute 10.1405 seconds.

The pole is the fourth for the Herta family as father Brian claimed the pole at Laguna Seca from 1997-99 along with wins from 1998-99.

The run denied Dixon a shot to claim a pole position for the first time since the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and makes him the highest starting championship contender for the race.

Second place points man Alexander Rossi overcame some mediocre practice runs to slot in the third position on the grid. His primary championship rival Josef Newgarden briefly went off track in his final lap and ended up fourth.

James Hinchcliffe broke up the championship party and ended up fifth quickest while third-place points man Simon Pagenaud ended up sixth fastest.

Will Power was the lone Team Penske Chevrolet out of the Fast Six and missed out on a pole shot by .253s. Rounding out the top five were the Hondas of Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay while Max Chilton delivered an uplifting run to 10th for Carlin Racing.

Felix Rosenqvist looked to be Herta’s most significant threat for the pole but went off track during his qualifying run. He rebounded by setting the fastest lap of the session at 1:10.1405 after a fresh set of tyres. It proved to be a moot point after his best two laps were deleted when race control deemed that he impeded the progress of an oncoming James Hinchcliffe.

 

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