Rosenqvist beats Power to pole at Long Beach

Felix Rosenqvist put Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 60 Honda on pole for the 49th running of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, beating Will Power by 0.0039s. It is the sixth pole of his IndyCar career, but MSR’s first.

Team Penske’s Power and Marcus Ericsson of Andretti Global elected to start the Firestone Fast Six on alternate tires, and the Penske driver produced a 1m06.3993s before pitting for a second set of alternates while Ericsson’s first effort was just 0.0046s adrift.

Penske’s Josef Newgarden then grabbed P1 with 1m06.1059, but Rosenqvist jumped to the top with a 1m06.0172s on his fourth lap, despite a huge slide out of Turn 5. Power’s final effort fell less than four thousandths short but was content to end up on the front row, the Australian admitting he couldn’t think of anywhere on the track where he could have done better and shaded Rosenqvist.

Newgarden made it two Penskes in the top three, ahead of Colton Herta and teammate Ericsson — who adopted his teammate’s setup. The only Chip Ganassi Racing entry to make it to Q3, Alex Palou, will start sixth, but set the fastest time of the session in Q2, a 1m05.9103s, which equates to 107mph around the 1.968-mile circuit.

Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan was just two-hundredths short of making it into Q3, but shaded Ganassi’s Scott Dixon, whose teammate Marcus Armstrong — who topped Q1 Group 1 — will roll off ninth.

Defending Long Beach pole winner and race winner Kyle Kirkwood was surprised to get eliminated in Q2 after having been quickest this morning, but dirty air from the car ahead spoiled the final part of his fastest lap, leaving him 10th. Another rapid entry to not make the Firestone Fast Six was the third Penske of Scott McLaughlin, who finished qualifying in 11th, just ahead of Graham Rahal (RLL).

Surprising exclusions in Q1 were Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi of Arrow McLaren, who finished seventh in Group 2 and Group 1 respectively. O’Ward sounded puzzled, saying he wasn’t unhappy with the car, it was just slow. Their IndyCar debutant teammate, F2 champion Theo Pourchaire, will start 20th after producing a brave lap that left him only 0.52s off O’Ward.

Neither Rinus VeeKay nor Christian Rasmussen got through to Q2, a disappointing result given the pace the Ed Carpenter Racing cars showed in practice.

Agustin Canapino caused a yellow with a spin in Q1 and lost his best lap, while his Juncos Hollinger Racing teammate Romain Grosjean was only hundredths faster but will start from the eighth row.


Story originally appeared on Racer