IndyCar: Pato O'Ward claims pole in Ohio to become ninth different pole-sitter in nine races

The streak of IndyCar pole-sitters continued on Saturday, with Arrow McLaren's Pato O'Ward becoming the ninth different driver to lead the grid in nine races.

Pato O'Ward claimed the fifth pole position of his career on Saturday, with the Arrow McLaren driver recording a best lap of 1:06.705s to take his place on the front row.

O'Ward's fastest lap on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course also matched a feat last achieved in 1961, when IndyCar had nine different pole-sitters in the opening nine races.

One more race with a different pole sitter would see the 2022 season match the 1952 season record, which saw 10 different pole sitters at the start of the season.

Starting alongside O'Ward in Sunday's race is Scott McLaughlin, who qualified second in the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:06.838s - his best starting spot of the season since his other second place start in the second race of the year at Texas Motor Speedway.

Colton Herta will start third after managing a lap time of 1:07.026s in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, with Felix Rosenqvist fourth in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Scott Dixon fifth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and Simon Pagenaud rounding out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:07.4199 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.

It was a qualifying session to forget for our current championship leaders. Points leader Marcus Ericsson only managed a time of 1:07.147s, so will start 13th Sunday in the No. 8 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda.

Will Power was looking to close the 27-point gap to Ericsson this weekend, but despite being quick on track, saw his two fastest laps deleted after he impeded Helio Castroneves' attempt by swerving when heating his tyres.

Power will now start down in 21st for Sunday's race.

Josef Newgarden, who currently sits third and 32 points behind Ericsson, looks unlikely to record a fourth win of the season on Sunday. He starts 14th after a hugely frustrating session in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.

With most of the title competitors starting towards the back of the grid, O'Ward was understandably excited at his chances of converting pole position into a win on Sunday.

"It was a good session for us," O'Ward said.

"I couldn't get the lap together in the first two sections, but I got it done the third time. The car's been great. We didn't roll off the truck the best, but we made some changes overnight, and we got her in the window.

"It's huge, man," he added. "It's a track position race. The best position that we've had here starting is like 15th, so first is definitely a lot better than that."

A final pre-race practice will be held on Sunday, before The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R starts later in the evening at 17:30 BST.

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