Alexander Rossi set the fastest lap during the NTT IndyCar Series’ dual-group qualifying session Saturday at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park to earn the pole for the first race of the annual Detroit doubleheader.
As a participant in the second 12-minute session late on Saturday morning, Rossi benefitted from the most rubbered-in track as he executed a 1:14.1989 lap.
Josef Newgarden had gone as fast as 1:14.8272 in Group 1 minutes earlier, ensuring he and the No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet didn’t slip further than second on the combined timesheet and earning a front-row start.
Lapping the temporary street circuit 0.6283 seconds faster than Newgarden, Rossi secured the NTT P1 Award. Subsequently, the other drivers in his group will slot into the odd-numbered positions on the grid behind him when they take the green flag for the 70-lap race Saturday afternoon.
Rossi will start first for the sixth time of his IndyCar career and the first time since dominating the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole in April.
With Newgarden’s group set to occupy the even-numbered grid positions, Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist will share the second row with Colton Herta and Ryan Hunter-Reay to roll off from Row 3.
By virtue of setting the fourth-fastest lap in Rossi’s group, Pato O’Ward will start seventh alongside Zach Veach with Takuma Sato and James Hinchcliffe on the next row.
Graham Rahal and Will Power will begin from the 11th and 12th positions with Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Ed Jones claiming 13th and 14th.
Having captured the pole for one of last year’s Detroit races, Marco Andretti earned an 18th-place start for Race 1 in 2019.
After NBC’s pre-race coverage opens at 3 p.m. EDT, engines will be fired at 3:43 p.m. before the green flag flies seven minutes later — per the original schedule, which may be affected by incoming inclement weather.