By Steve Wittich

With his series leading sixth pole of the season, second generation California racer Colton Herta will have the opportunity to match one of his father’s Indy Lights feats. Bryan Herta, who was driving for the Ohio based Tasman Motorsports won the 1993 Indy Lights at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course from the pole.

Herta’s quickest lap of 61.102 seconds, that the Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing rookie turned late in the half-hour session, withstood a last minute flyer by race one pole sitter Santiago Urrutia.

Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing’s Colton Herta pushes hard at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Herta won a series best sixth pole of the 2017 Indy Lights season. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography)

Urrutia, a sophomore Belardi Auto Racing pilot, who won both Indy Lights races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016, spent the first 25 minutes of the half-hour session with a firm hold on the provisional pole, but was not able to hold on, and will start on the outside of the front row.

The majority of the field came to the attention of their crews just before the half-way point of the 30 minute session. The teams mounted fresh Cooper Tire rubber, and the drivers made a final push to improve their qualifying position.

At that half-way point of the session, the top 10 were: Urrutia, Shelby Blackstock, Nico Jamin, Herta, Zachary Claman DeMelo, Juan Piedrahita, Dalton Kellett, Neil Alberico, Aaron Telitz, and Ryan Norman.

It took four or five laps for the sticker tires to get up to the optimal operating temperature but when it did, the times started to drop precipitously.

Jamin, who has won his last five Mazda Road To Indy starts on the 2.258-mile, 13-Turn natural terrain Mid-Ohio road course, was the first to knock Urrutia off the top spot.

The Frenchman didn’t hold the top spot for long, before it was his teammate Herta who went to the top of the timing and scoring screen. Jamin will start the race on the inside of the second row, and will be joined by Carlin sophomore Claman DeMelo.

Championship leader Kyle Kaiser, who qualified sixth for the first race of the weekend, will have even more work to do. The best the Juncos Racing veteran could do was the ninth quickest lap.

Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda qualifying #2 results:

1 98 Colton Herta 1:11.102 –.—-
2 5 Santi Urrutia 1:11.226 0.1242
3 27 Nico Jamin 1:11.394 0.2926
4 13 Zachary Claman De Melo 1:11.658 0.5565
5 51 Shelby Blackstock 1:11.764 0.6621
6 48 Ryan Norman 1:12.091 0.9890
7 31 Nicolas Dapero 1:12.235 1.1331
8 2 Juan Piedrahita 1:12.322 1.2196
9 18 Kyle Kaiser 1:12.332 1.2297
10 28 Dalton Kellett 1:12.537 1.4355
11 9 Aaron Telitz 1:12.572 1.4704
12 22 Neil Alberico 1:12.696 1.5944
13 26 Matheus Leist 1:12.846 1.7442
14 11 Garth Rickards 1:15.014 3.9121

The first Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Powered by Mazda race of the weekend rolls off at 3:35 P.M. later this afternoon.