Qualifying for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires first race of the weekend came alive inside the final five minutes and Rinus Van Kalmthout (VeeKay) was able to edge title rival Oliver Askew for the top spot. This is his fourth pole position of the season.
The Dutch rookie was the only driver to post a lap in the 1:03 bracket around the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway track, on his 18th lap of the session. His best time was 1:03.9952 in the No. 21 Juncos Racing Dallara IL-15.
VeeKay’s late pace in the 30-minute session came in the final few minutes and ended Askew’s provisional hold on the session. Askew of Andretti Autosport held the top spot for the majority of the session with a lap in the 1:04.5 ballpark, before the times started to tumble once teams bolted on fresh sets of Cooper Tires slicks around the halfway point of the session.
The championship protagonists start on the front row ahead of Andretti’s Robert Megennis, just under two tenths of a second off pole, and the second Juncos entry of Dalton Kellett.
The Queens University engineering graduate will hit a milestone in Saturday’s race with his 67th career Indy Lights start, surpassing Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s all-time series record. Fittingly, the start comes driving the No. 67 car and equals his best start this season, achieved in two other races (Freedom 100, Toronto race two). The last time he started fourth in Toronto, he scored his only podium finish of the year in third place.
The pair of HMD Motorsports cars are fifth and sixth with David Malukas ahead of Toby Sowery. Lucas Kohl starts seventh ahead of Ryan Norman in eighth, who had a ragged session with an off-course excursion near the end in Turns 11 and 12.
Indy Lights qualifies for race two at 9:40 a.m. PDT tomorrow morning. They’ll have race one later Saturday afternoon at 1:50 p.m. PDT.
Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – Portland Qualifying #1
|1||21||Rinus VeeKay||Juncos Racing||1:03.995||–.—-||19|
|2||28||Oliver Askew||Andretti Autosport||1:04.115||0.1196||21|
|3||27||Robert Megennis||Andretti Autosport||1:04.191||0.1957||21|
|4||67||Dalton Kellett||Juncos Racing||1:04.439||0.4439||19|
|5||79||David Malukas||HMD Motorsports||1:04.452||0.4565||22|
|6||2||Toby Sowery||HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey||1:04.734||0.7393||19|
|7||5||Lucas Kohl||Belardi Auto Racing||1:04.871||0.8756||22|
|8||48||Ryan Norman||Andretti Autosport||1:05.054||1.0589||17|