Rossi repeats NTT P1 Award effort in Detroit qualifying

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DETROIT – Alexander Rossi won the NTT P1 Award for the second straight Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear race, capturing the pole position Saturday morning for the NTT IndyCar Series race later in the afternoon.

CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX: Race 1 qualifying results

Rossi, the pole sitter for the second half of the Detroit doubleheader in 2018, sped around the 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course at Belle Isle Park in 1 minute, 14.1989 seconds (114.018 mph) on Saturday to repeat his pole-winning effort. It’s the sixth pole of the Andretti Autosport driver’s four-year career and second this season, following the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April.

The driver of the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda went on to win the Long Beach race and is also fresh off a second-place finish May 26 in the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

“A huge hats off to the No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda boys for putting together such fast race cars.” Rossi said. “We’ve been quick here the past three years but haven’t been able to execute on race days. That’s the name of it right now.

“Goal No. 1 (winning the pole) has been accomplished, hopefully we can go out and get the second part of the goal this afternoon.”

Qualifying for the Detroit doubleheader weekend varies from the NTT IndyCar Series process on other road and street courses that features knockout qualifying rounds. Instead at Belle Isle, the field is split into two groups for separate 12-minute sessions, with the fastest overall driver earning the pole position and the fastest driver in the other group qualifying second.

The rest of the starting grid is determined by the groups, with those in the pole winner’s group occupying the odd-numbered positions and those in the other group taking the even-numbered grid spots.

Josef Newgarden, who was quick in the group opposite Rossi’s, will start the race on the outside of Row 1 after qualifying at 1:14.8272 (113.060 mph) in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. With the top two qualifiers each netting a championship point, Newgarden moved into a virtual tie for the points lead with teammate and Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud.

Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and rookie Felix Rosenqvist locked up the second row in qualifying. Dixon will start third in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda (1:14.3995, 113.710 mph) and Rosenqvist fourth in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda (1:14.9984, 112.802 mph).

Fellow NTT IndyCar Series rookie Colton Herta qualified fifth in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda, with Ryan Hunter-Reay sixth in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Dixon and Hunter-Reay won the 2018 Detroit races.

Twenty-two cars will take the field when the green flag waves for the 70-lap race Saturday afternoon at Belle Isle. Live coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Race 2 action takes place Sunday, with qualifying at 10:30 a.m. (NBCSN) and the race at 3 p.m. (NBC). The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is the only doubleheader on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule.

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