O’Ward earns pole for 2nd race of Road America doubleheader

Sports

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Pato O’Ward won the pole Sunday morning as Scott Dixon chases his fourth straight victory in the second half of a weekend IndyCar doubleheader at Road America.

O’Ward, a Chevy driver for Arrow McLaren SP, had a time of 1 minute, 44.8971 seconds on a course that stretches slightly over 4 miles and includes 14 turns. It’s the first career pole for the the 21-year-old from Mexico, who is seeking his first IndyCar victory.

With O’Ward on the pole and the 20-year-old Colton Herta qualifying second, Sunday’s race had the youngest front row in IndyCar history.

O’Ward is the third-youngest driver ever to earn an IndyCar pole. Herta was 19 when he won the pole at Road America last year, while Graham Rahal earned the pole at St. Petersburg as a 20-year-old in 2009.

Dixon qualified sixth as he pursues his 50th career triumph. Dixon has been the only driver to win an IndyCar race this season. He posted victories at Texas and Indianapolis before winning Saturday at Road America.

Three races into the season, Dixon already owns a commanding 62-point lead in the points standings. Second-place Simon Pagenaud is closer to 20th place than first.

Dixon, of Chip Ganassi Racing, is the first driver to win three straight IndyCar events since Pagenaud did it in 2006.

He’s attempting to match the accomplishment of Sebastien Bourdais, who won four straight races to start the 2006 season. The only other drivers to win as many as three straight races to begin a season are A.J. Foyt (seven in 1964) and Al Unser Sr. (three in 1967).

Dixon posted his most improbable win of the year Saturday, as he placed a season-low ninth in qualifying but took the lead for good in the 40th of 55 laps by passing Will Power coming out of the pits on a restart after a caution. Power finished second and Alex Palou was third.

This weekend’s doubleheader marked the first time spectators were allowed during this pandemic-delayed season. IndyCar organizers allowing fans on a case-by-case basis as they rely on local and state health guidelines wherever the races are held.

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