SPEEDWAY — It's the first time a major auto race has been held in October on the historic grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
And Thursday's practice for the Harvest Grand Prix was also notable for a bunch of people who aren't on the track, but are watching it closely.
IndyCar Series rookie Rinus VeeKay won the NTT P1 Award for his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position Thursday, at IMS.
The 20-year-old VeeKay posted a top lap of 1 minute, 9.6903 seconds, 125.992 mph in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet in Group 2 of qualifying for Friday's INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR.
“It was tough,” VeeKay said. “I was not very happy with the car this morning, but (Team Manager) Tim (Broyles) and I sat down and we found some great stuff. A lot of work was put in here. I put in a good lap, so I’m very happy with that. Finally, finally, my first pole.”
Defending IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden will line up alongside VeeKay in second. Newgarden, who is second in the point standings, was awarded one point for setting the fastest time in Group 1 with a time of 1:10.4706 in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
Colton Herta qualified third in the No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda at 1:09.7048. Will Power qualified fourth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:10.5686, and 2020 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge pole sitter Marco Andretti rounded out the top five at 1:09.7140.
The additional point for Newgarden could be beneficial in his quest for a third Astor Challenge Cup. Newgarden has steadily cut into points leader Scott Dixon’s edge over the last month. He entered this event down 72 points and will start Friday’s race with a deficit of 71.
Drivers will take on 85 laps of the IMS road course on Friday. The green flag will wave on the race around 3:50 p.m.