By Tony DiZinno
Dalton Kellett has had a good history in the Freedom 100 with back-to-back third place finishes in his first two starts on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval.
He’ll have an even better start for his third, having won his first career pole position in the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires series during Thursday’s qualifying session. It is also his first pole on the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires, in a career that dates to 2012.
Despite being second on course, due to the cars going out in points order, Kellett set a speed to beat of 195.027 mph over a two-lap average in his No. 28 K-LINE Insulators USA Mazda for Andretti Autosport.
“On the outside it looks like everything is under control but in the car we were discussing gearing strategies and what we could do,” Kellett told TSO Ladder. “It was definitely on the fly. It got hotter, so maybe a little less power. I had a big gust between 1 and 2 on the first lap. I picked the right gearing so that was the right decision.”
None of the remaining six drivers to take to the track beat it.
Kellett’s previous best start in his 41 prior Indy Lights starts was third, at this race last year and at St. Petersburg race two last year.
Points leader Patricio O’Ward came closest, with a faster first lap of 195.059 mph, but fell off enough on his second lap to fall into second on the grid.
Ryan Norman made it an Andretti Autosport 1-2-3 on the grid ahead of Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni.
Championship contenders Santi Urrutia and Colton Herta, who are third and second in points, will start fifth and sixth with Davey Hamilton Jr. in seventh ahead of his oval debut in the Team Pelfrey car and Aaron Telitz rounding out the field.
The eight drivers exited the pits and took the green flag the first time they crossed the Yard of Bricks.
Order on track was by points entering the race, in reverse order.
2-Davey Hamilton Jr.
First Lap – 193.510
Second Lap – 193.095
Average – 193.302
First Lap – 194.673
Second Lap – 195.383
Average – 195.027
First Lap – 193.450
Second Lap – 193.087
Average – 193.269
First Lap – 194.303
Second Lap – 193.838
Average – 194.070
First Lap – 194.210
Second Lap – 193.909
Average – 194.059
First Lap – 194.242
Second Lap – 193.832
Average – 194.037
First Lap – 194.069
Second Lap – 193.476
Average – 193.772
First Lap – 195.059
Second Lap – 194.743
Average – 194.901
Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires – Freedom 100 Qualifying
|1||28||Dalton Kellett||Andretti Autosport||195.027|
|2||27||Pato O’Ward||Andretti Autosport||194.901|
|3||48||Ryan Norman||Andretti Autosport||194.070|
|4||23||Victor Franzoni||Juncos Racing||194.059|
|5||5||Santi Urrutia||Belardi Auto Racing||194.037|
|6||98||Colton Herta||Andretti Steinbrenner Racing||193.772|
|7||2||Davey Hamilton Jr||Team Pelfrey||193.302|
|8||9||Aaron Telitz||Belardi Auto Racing||193.269|
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