Rain turns fortunes upside down for bulk of IndyCar field in Toronto

#26: Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda
#26: Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

The driver leading the NTT IndyCar Series championship who’s had a nearly perfect season lines up 15th. The driver closest to him (Alex Palou), Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon, who goes into Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto race holding second in the championship, starts seventh.

Josef Newgarden, the driver sitting third in the standings, will take the green flag from 11th on the grid, and you’ll have to look to fourth in points to find the first title contender who didn’t have a rough day in qualifying on the slippery street circuit — Marcus Ericsson on the second row in P4.

Colton Herta, last year’s Honda Indy Toronto polesitter and the polesitter for the last two NTT IndyCar Series races, had intentions to earn another, but was a big surprise in his failure to transfer into the Firestone Fast 12. The Andretti Autosport driver, fastest in the session prior to qualifying, wasn’t alone.

Beasts in the dry, Herta’s frustrating run to 14th was compounded by Kyle Kirkwood—fastest on Friday—who lines up eighth and Romain Grosjean who settled for ninth.

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The greatest surprise, though, was the aforementioned Palou, whose worst start of the year prior to Toronto was seventh. To the Spaniard’s credit, he was in worse shape last year in Canada when he started 22nd and rocketed to eighth, so all hope is not lost.

“I just think we didn’t really put together everything we had,” said an untroubled Palou. “We’re going to have to start from the back, but we know we have a fast car and we can make it from there. It’s gonna be a pretty busy race. It’s the first (challenging starting spot) of the year; hopefully the last one, but yeah, we will have to work for it, for sure.”

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