By Diane Swintal

The sun has finally come out at PIR – a very pleasant 74F/22C at the start of Indy Lights qualifying. Track temp is 98.8F.

Plenty of rubber on the racetrack – plenty of different kinds of rubber. A USF2000 race (Cooper), INDYCAR qualifying (Firestone), ARCA (General) and Indy Pro 2000 (Cooper).

Green flag at 3:25 p.m.

Sting Ray Robb celebrating his 21st birthday today. The Payette, Idaho native considers Portland his “home” track and has a good number of friends and family in attendance.

Pit lane is decided by points, so the field heads onto the racetrack in championship order, with Linus Lundqvist leading the way.

Lundqvist sets the first fast time – the only first lap under 1:08 (1:07.4066).

Second laps in the 1:05s, with Daniel Frost on top ahead of Christian Rasmussen.

Robb off track in turn 11 – that’s been a very popular spot to go off track this weekend.

Frost still on top after lap three, now down to 1:04.6883, with Lundqvist second quick.

Ernie Francis, Jr. with the third quickest time early in the session – 1:05.1115. He was quick on track and too quick on pit lane, will be headed back in for a drive through penalty, pit speed violation.

Third generation driver Flinn Lazier, in his series debut, fourth quick early at 1:05.3828.

Another big slide for Robb coming around turn 12 with 11 minutes remaining.

Hunter McElrea into the top spot with 9 minutes remaining, with a lap of 1:04.4387.

Robb then goes quicker, 1:04.4303. Brabham second quick, 1:04.3600.

Rasmussen quickest with 7:50 remaining, 1:04.1533. Benjamin Pedersen second quick at 1:04.1743.

Flurry of quick laps at the six-minute mark, with the top spot changing every lap. McElrea, Robb, Frost, Pedersen.

Pedersen’s time lasts for a few minutes, 1:03.6698 with five minutes remaining. Frost right behind at 1:03.7830.

Checkered flag – and the first Indy Lights pole position for Global Racing Group’s Benjamin Pedersen.

Pedersen, who know lives in Indianapolis, grew up in Seattle and considers Portland his home track. A series sophomore, he is still seeking his first series win.

“Finally!” said Pedersen. “I’ve worked so hard and it’s nice to have it be rewarded. Now, our complete focus goes toward getting our first win tomorrow!”

Benjamin Pedersen at Portland International Raceway. Penske Entertainment – Joe Skibinski

Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires Qualifying results:

1. (24) Benjamin Pedersen, 01:03.6698 (111.048)
2. (68) Danial Frost, 01:03.7830 (110.851)
3. (28) Christian Rasmussen, 01:03.8546 (110.727)
4. (26) Linus Lundqvist, 01:03.8606 (110.716)
5. (2) Sting Ray Robb, 01:03.9390 (110.580)
6. (83) Matthew Brabham, 01:04.2610 (110.026)
7. (27) Hunter McElrea, 01:04.2678 (110.015)
8. (51) Jacob Abel, 01:04.2698 (110.011)
9. (99) Ernie Francis Jr., 01:04.3912 (109.804)
10. (21) Kyffin Simpson, 01:04.4322 (109.734)
11. (7) Christian Bogle, 01:04.5431 (109.545)
12. (15) Flinn Lazier, 01:04.6491 (109.366)