Pato O’Ward was the first driver to set a representative time on used reds in the Fast Six shootout, 67.0852s, before immediately pitting to grab another set of worn reds.
His time held off the early efforts of Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Scott McLaughlin and his own teammate Felix Rosenqvist.
He then lowered the mark further to a 66.7054s, a blistering 121.861 mph lap around the 2.238-mile Ohio track that put him more than 0.13s ahead of McLaughlin and a half-second ahead of Rosenqvist, who in the previous two segments looked faster than the 2018 Indy Lights champion.
In fact, Rosenqvist was sent outside the second row of Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta.
The result marks O’Ward’s ninth different pole position in nine races in the 2022 IndyCar Series.
Scott Dixon was fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda at a circuit where he won six times, albeit 0.7 seconds off the final pace, while Simon Pagenaud’s decision to run two series of reds on his Meyer Shank Racing-Honda in Q2 helped usher him in the Fast Six, but obviously hindered him in the final series.
Patricio O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
Photo: Gavin Baker / Images of motor sports
Scott McLaughlin, Simon Pagend and Callum Ilott started the Q2 session on Firestone alternatives and of course they came out on top, perhaps surprisingly with Ilott initially leading before McLaughlin beat him by 0.12s.
However, while he was still competing in the primaries, David Malukas was able to send Dale Coyne Racing w/HMD-Honda to the top of the speed charts with a time of 67.1309s.
Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi then took turns to take the top spot before Colton Herta dropped to 66.7953s before being edged out by Scott Dixon – by just 0.0007s!
The times continued to drop, with the AMSP cars of Felix Rosenqvist and Pat O’Ward again 0.2s behind each other, pushing Dixon into third, before McLaughlin took the No. 3 Penske-Chevrolet to the top time with a time of 66.5341s.
Herta and Pazhno finished in the top six, but reigning champion Alex Palou was pushed out of the top six.
Malukas was disappointed that O’Ward was not penalized for holding him up, leaving him in eighth, although he was ahead of the driver who beat him for the Indy Lights title, Kyle Kirkwood.
The AJ Foyt Racing-Chevy driver was ninth, but could be pleased to be able to hold off two surprise Firestone Fast Six entrants who didn’t graduate, Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevrolet’s Rinus Wiekey, who looked strong this weekend, and the man who Kirkwood will replace Rossi at Andretti Autosport next year.