For the fourth-time this year, but the first time on oval, second generation driver Colton Herta will start on the pole in an Indy Lights race, collecting the qualifying track record that Max Chilton set in 2015.

“The track didn’t change as much as we expected, explained the Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing pilot. “Obviously the track got a little hotter as more cars ran, and that evened it out a little bit. It was a really good lap, and the car was perfect, and I think it’s the track record.”

The 17 year-old was the third driver to make a qualifying effort, and his two-lap qualifying effort of 163.670mph withstood eleven attempts.

“It’s the worst. It’s terrible. I didn’t get to feel it at Indy, (Herta qualified second for the Freedom 100 qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) because I went second to last or last,” said Herta with a sheepish grin on his face. “It’s terrible, I hope I never have to draw in the first three again, because I felt so sick watching. ‘Am I going to get it, am I going to get it.’ It’s a little bit different. I’ve never had to experience it before, but it’s cool.”

Colton Herta will start on pole for the fourth time in his young Indy Lights career (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Zachary Claman De Melo, who led the final practice, and testing two weeks ago at Iowa Speedway, managed a two-lap average of 163.290mph was the closest competitor to Herta, matching his career best second place start on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May.

Championship leader Kyle Kaiser was the first driver to take to the 0.894-mile oval for his two-lap qualifying effort, and the Juncos Racing veteran turned in the two-lap average of 162.968mph. After two disappointing practice sessions in which the 21 year-old could do no better than sixth and 12th, starting the Mazda Iowa 100 Presented by Cooper Tires is a big win.

Andretti Autosport rookie Ryan Norman, who is making his second career oval start, matched his season best qualifying effort of fourth that was achieved at the other oval race of the year, the Freedom 100.

Starting on the third row, are Andretti Autosport teammates, Dalton Kellett, and Nico Jamin. Kellett told TSO that he made just a slight mistake at the exit of Turn 1, and that it potentially cost him a front row starting spot.

The Indy Lights drivers we chatted with about what to expect during the race were fairly unanimous in their opinion that taking care of their Cooper Tire slicks was going to be the key to crossing the finish line in first.

Pole sitter Herta said: “It’s going to be all about saving the tires, and tire degradation, and passing at the end when tires go off.”

Mazda Iowa 100 starting line-up

1 98 Colton Herta 163.670 163.835 163.505
2 13 Zachary Claman De Melo 163.290 163.423 163.157
3 18 Kyle Kaiser 162.968 163.072 162.865
4 48 Ryan Norman 162.769 162.919 162.619
5 28 Dalton Kellett 162.743 162.122 163.368
6 27 Nico Jamin 162.422 162.346 162.497
7 22 Neil Alberico 162.199 162.138 162.259
8 11 Garth Rickards 162.082 161.880 162.284
9 31 Nicolas Dapero 162.014 161.967 162.062
10 26 Matheus Leist 161.930 162.110 161.751
11 5 Santi Urrutia 161.926 161.963 161.888
12 9 Aaron Telitz 161.895 161.869 161.920
13 51 Shelby Blackstock 160.749 160.466 161.033
14 2 Juan Piedrahita 160.746 160.464 161.030

The green flag for the 100 lap race falls at 2pm.

For the fifth time this season Oliver Askew will start a USF2000 race from the inside of the front row. It shouldn’t be surprising to see a Cape Motorsports driver up front on an oval, the St. Petersburg, Fla. based team has won five of the nine USF2000 oval races since 2010. However, Askew and the team struggled during Friday’s three hour test (the fourth best time), and yesterday’s 45-minute practice session (the sixth best time).

“A lot of set up changes,” explained Askew when asked about the changes the team made overnight. “The guys at Cape Motorsports, and my engineer Dominic Cape did a great job in making the right decisions for me to get pole. That was a good lap, way better than the car felt yesterday. I’m looking forward to the race.”

Rising Star Racing sponsored driver Oliver Askew will start on pole for the Mazda Iowa 60 (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Askew was the fifth driver to take to the track, knocking Robert Megennis from the provisional pole, and had to withstand challenges from nine drivers, including the Pabst Racing duo of Rinus VeeKay and Calvin Ming, who had been dominant in practice and qualifying.

Ming, who was the last car on track will start beside Askew, and VeeKay will start immediately behind the driver he is chasing for the championship. Alex Baron, and Robert Megennis round out the top five.

Mazda Iowa 60 starting line-up

1 3 Oliver Askew 131.683 131.362 132.006
2 22 Calvin Ming 131.342 131.017 131.668
3 21 Rinus VeeKay 131.089 130.688 131.492
4 4 Alex Baron 130.060 129.057 131.079
5 80 Robert Megennis 130.039 129.834 130.244
6 82 Ayla Agren 129.634 129.535 129.734
7 23 Lucas Kohl 129.533 129.213 129.854
8 81 Kaylen Frederick 129.232 128.179 130.302
9 90 Parker Thompson 128.372 127.679 129.072
10 12 Moises de la Vara 128.138 127.735 128.543
11 7 Devin Wojcik 127.678 126.772 128.598
12 11 Kory Enders 127.189 127.075 127.303
13 92 Dev Gore 123.467 123.192 123.744

The green flag for the 60 lap race falls at 1:05pm.