Quick programming note – the Indy Lights race has been moved up one hour and 20 minutes to a 10:40 am local start.
By Steve Wittich
Five different drivers swapped the provisional pole a total of seven times in the last seven minutes of qualifying for the second Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires at Barber Motorsports Park.
O’Ward last grabbed the provisional pole with at three-minutes left and was able to survive attacks from Victor Franzoni, Colton Herta, and Santi Urrutia.
O’Ward will start on the pole in an Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race for the second time, and is his seventh career Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires pole.
The first series on track at 8 am at Barber Motorsports Park on an overcast Sunday morning was the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series.
The eight entries took to the track at 8 am with an ambient temperature of 64F.
In the first minute of the session, Alfonso Celis, Jr., spun between Turn 7 and Turn 8 out lap, the
Cellis, Jr. told the ADVANCE Auto Parts Network that he got caught out cold tires and spun when the turbo-charged Mazda engine kicked in more than he expected, causing him lose control.
The No. 7 didn’t make contact but did need a wrecker to make it back to the Indy Lights paddock.
No drivers were able to turn a hot lap before the red flag, and with only 17 minutes left in the half-hour session, the track was immediately busy.
Victor Franzoni and Ryan Norman immediately went out on sticker Cooper Tire slicks, with the other five drivers choosing a scuffed set of Coopers.
The first timed hot lap came just past the halfway point of the session, and it was Patricio O’Ward who the quickest driver on that first hot lap.
Saturday’s race winner wasn’t in the provisional pole spot for long, as Aaron Telitz jumped to provisional pole.
With 10 minutes left in the session, the five drivers on scuffed tires came to pit road for sticker Cooper Tires.
Telitz was surpassed by Franzoni, who was able to get his fresh tires up to temperature and was the first driver to crack the 74-second mark with a lap of 73.963 seconds.
With seven minutes left in the session, Andretti Autosport veteran Dalton Kellett moved to the provisional pole and was followed by his teammate Colton Herta.
O’Ward went to the top of the timing screen but Herta went quciker on the next lap.
With four minutes left in the session, Aaron Telitz grabbed the provisional pole.
That lasted for 30 seconds as O’Ward and Herta went even quicker.
With two minutes left in the practice session, all seven drivers on track were within a half-second of O’Ward.
Teltiz, who’s nightmare start to the season continued in qualifying, was penalized his fastest lap for interfering with Norman, moving him from thrid to fifth.
Mazda Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying #2 results
|RANK||CAR NO.||DRIVER||FASTEST LAP||DIFFERENCE|
|8||7||Alfonso Celis||No Time||—|