BELLE ISLE, MI – Marco Andretti said back in Long Beach after his top 10 finish that if they could figure out how to start better, then watch out. Well, you can’t get much better than what he did on Saturday in qualifying for today’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (3:30 p.m. ET/ABC/INDYCAR Radio Network).
Andretti, put a flier down in the final second of Group 2 to earn his first Verizon IndyCar Series pole in nearly five years. The third generation driver sped around the 2.35-mile Belle Isle street course with a time of 1:14.8514-seconds en route to his fifth career pole. The last time Andretti earned the Verizon P1 Pole Award was back at Pocono in 2013. In fact, out of his previous four poles, Pocono is the only track still on the schedule.
Andretti, won the pole at Milwaukee in 2008 and again in 2013. He also won a pole in 2012 in Fontana. None of those two tracks are stops on the schedule anymore.
But, this shouldn’t be too surprising though. Andretti, was fifth quickest in each of the two practice sessions on the island on Friday and finished in the top five in each of the doubleheader races in 2015.
Now, he’s arguably one of the favorites to win the 70 Lap race later on today.
He will be joined on the front row by Scott Dixon. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver turned a lap of 1:15.4186-seconds to earn the second starting spot. Dixon, was also second quick in each of the two practices on Friday too in his No. 9 Honda.
Both Andretti and Dixon turned late laps to set those quick speeds. In the second group, Andretti put down a flier then saw Robert Wickens beat him a few seconds later. But, on his final lap, Andretti got him back. In Group 1, Dixon was second and/or third on the timing charts for most of the way, but on his final lap, he put down a lap that no one could touch.
Wickens, will start third in his No. 6 Honda on his first ever start on the island. Alexander Rossi will roll off fourth in his No. 27 Honda. Ryan Hunter-Reay gave Andretti Autosport three cars in the top five of the starting lineup as he starts fifth.
Honda put eight cars in the top nine of the starting lineup, as the lone Chevrolet powered car up front is Will Power who earned his 17th consecutive top 10 starting spot with a sixth place qualifying effort.
Row 4 is an all Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing row with Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal starting seventh and eighth respectively.
Row 7 is an all Penske row with Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden starting 13th and 14th respectively.
Row 9 is an all Dale Coyne Racing row with Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci rolling off 17th and 18th respectively.
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Race No. 1 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon
Row 2: Robert Wickens R, Alexander Rossi
Row 3: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power
Row 4: Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal
Row 5: James Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton
Row 6: Ed Jones, Spencer Pigot
Row 7: Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden
Row 8: Tony Kanaan, Zach Veach R
Row 9: Sebastien Bourdais, Santino Ferrucci R
Row 10: Gabby Chaves, Jordan King R
Row 11: Matheus Leist R, Charlie Kimball
Row 12: Rene Binder R