David Ostella put the Performance Tech Motorsports machine fourth on the grid in the Prototype Challenge class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On his last lap, Ostella jumped from eighth to fourth with a lap time of 1 minute, 20.208 seconds. The quick lap continued a recent trend, as Ostella also posted his best time last month at Watkins Glen International with seconds remaining in the session. Ostella and new teammate James French will start from the second row of the PC class in the 49-car field.
"It was good; I'm happy with qualifying and being so close to the front," Ostella said. "Only four-tenths off Colin (Braun), who got the pole. I think I'm still struggling with qualifying. I'm not happy with how long it takes me to get up to speed. So I'll be working on that. I'm happy with the performance."
Ostella's best qualifying lap was more than a second quicker than his top practice time Friday. He qualified just .359 of a second behind Braun's track-record lap.
It was Ostella's best qualifying performance this season in the No. 38 Dash Neighborhoods/Phillips 66 car. Ostella competed on the historic IMS oval in the Firestone Freedom 100 for Indy Lights in 2011 and 2012, but this was his first day on the new 14-turn, 2.439-mile road circuit at IMS that incorporates part of the famous Indy oval. That mixture creates a complex setup challenge due to the circuit's intricate turns and fast straightaways, said Performance Tech Lead Engineer Ty Sayman.
"It's actually a very difficult track when it comes to setup," Sayman said. "You come off of straightaways into long turns, and you have to find where you can keep your speed. The track has a lot of nuances. I really wasn't too worried about the qualifying setup. I focus on the race. A pole would be nice, but a win is always better."
Team Principal Brent O'Neill joined his crew in applauding Ostella, 22, for his qualifying performance. This was the best qualifying result since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March, when the team started third.
"It was really good for us. The last lap, David was able to pull it out and put all the pieces together," O'Neill said. "David's still young. He's still getting it all together. That was a pretty stellar lap he put together at the end. He's never been a good qualifier. We're getting him to that point, and you're going to see him get better and better. We'll have a good start for tomorrow."
Ostella thinks he still has much to learn about qualifying but is happy to see most of the PC field behind him for the start of the race.
"I'm happy with the performance," Ostella said. "The Performance Tech team put together a great car. Now we just have to focus on race setup and get ready for tomorrow."
The Brickyard Grand Prix begins at 5:45 p.m. (ET) Friday with the live broadcast beginning at 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1. Fans can follow live timing and scoring at IMSA.com and also race details on Twitter at @IMSALive.
For more information or to donate to Dash from Breast Cancer, click the following link: davidostella.com/dash-from-breast-cancer/. For updates on the team, follow Performance Tech Motorsports on Facebook.