Alex Palou claims his career-first INDYCAR pole in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland
Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon complete Honda sweep of top three starting positions
Honda drivers, teams take five of top six in qualifying
PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 11, 2021) – In the first half of a Saturday afternoon qualifying sweep for Honda and Acura, championship contender Alex Palou led a 1-2-3 NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying effort for Honda at the Grand Prix of Portland. Further down the Pacific coast in Monterey, California, Filipe Albuquerque led a 1-2 Acura lockout of the front row for Sunday’s Monterey Sports Car Championship round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The pole was the first for Palou in his second season of INDYCAR competition, and the fifth for Honda in 2021. Since winning the season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Palou has either led or run second in the championship points standings, and is currently second, nine points out of first, with three races remaining.
In his best qualifying performance of the season, Alexander Rossi will start his Honda Dallara from the outside of the front row, second, for Andretti Autosport. Palou’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, defending and six-time series champion Scott Dixon, completed the 1-2-3 qualifying sweep for Honda in Portland. Graham Rahal and Colton Herta also advanced to the final “fast six” qualifying round, as Honda drivers and teams claimed five of the top six qualifying positions for Sunday’s 110-lap race.
Grand Prix of Portland Honda Qualifying Results
1st Alex Palou Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
2ndAlexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Honda
3rd Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
5th Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
6th Colton Herta Andretti Autosport Honda
8th Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda
9th Oliver Askew Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
10th Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
13th James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Honda
17th Helio Castroneves Meyer Shank Racing Honda
20th Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Honda
21st Romain Grosjean-R Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
23rd Jimmie Johnson-R Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
24th Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
25th Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda
R – Rookie
Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) Pole qualifier, his first career pole in NTT INDYCAR SERIES competition: “It’s amazing [to be on the pole], I’m super happy. My first pole in INDYCAR, it’s the best start to the weekend we could possibly have. The #10 PNC Bank Honda was really good. We’re starting from the best position, and we have a really fast car, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s race. We’re fully laser focused for these final three races and to bring the championship home.”
Oliver Askew (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) Qualified ninth in his Honda debut with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: “It’s fantastic to be back in an Indy car and running with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan organization. I also had a lot of help from HPD getting on the simulator, they moved their schedule around so I get run on the sim prior to coming here. I feel pretty good about qualifying in the top 10 [ninth], and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
This weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland marks the return of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES to the 1.967-mile PIR road course after a one-year absence, as last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a strong all-round qualifying showing for the manufacturers, Honda drivers claimed eight of top 12 grid positions after the first round of INDYCAR “knockout” qualifying, with five Honda’s advancing to the “Fast Six” final round and then sweeping the top-three starting positions for tomorrow’s 110-lap race.
Where to Watch Sunday’s Grand Prix of Portland
Live network television coverage Sunday’s 110-lap race from Portland International Raceway starts at 3 p.m. EDT on NBC. Complete, flag-to-flag race coverage also will be available on NBC Peacock, the INDYCAR Radio Network, and carried by SiriusXM satellite radio.
Honda Racing social media content and video links from this weekend can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).