The relentless pressure of Alex Palou prevailed again Saturday, as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader won the NTT P1 Award for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the 2025 Civic Hybrid.

Palou earned his second consecutive pole and third NTT P1 Award in the last six races this season with a top lap of 1 minute, 5.3511 seconds in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

SEE: Qualifying Results

It was the sixth career pole for two-time and defending series champion Palou, whose two race victories this season have come from the top spot, on May 11 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and June 23 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. He also won the non-points exhibition race from the pole in March at The Thermal Club.

“It was huge,” Palou said. “We knew we had a really fast car. We also knew we were at a disadvantage with the 5 (Pato O’Ward) with the tires because he did one lap less in the Fast 12, and we didn’t want to risk it. The car has been awesome.”

Pato O’Ward qualified second at 1:05.3535 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, his best qualifying effort of the season, after leading practice Saturday morning. O’Ward fell just .0024 of a second short of Palou, the closest margin between the top two drivers in the Firestone Fast Six since INDYCAR introduced this format for road and street course qualifying in 2005.

“There’s always more, right?” O’Ward said. “That was a really clean lap, though. I thought we had it, but when I came over the line and I heard (pole) was a 35 and I saw 36 on the dash, I was like, “Urrgh.” The car has been really strong from the start. I told the guys this is the strongest car that we’ve had all year in a race weekend. I’m really excited for tomorrow.”

Live coverage of the 80-lap race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network. A 30-minute warmup session precedes the race at 10:25 a.m. (Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).

David Malukas continued his remarkable rebound from preseason wrist surgery to qualify third at 1:05.6509 in the No. 66 AutoNation/Arctic Wolf Honda fielded by Meyer Shank Racing. Malukas tied his career-best qualifying spot in just his second start this season, and this was his best-ever performance in road and street course qualifying.

Colton Herta will join Malukas on Row 2 after qualifying fourth at 1:05.7653 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda fielded by Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian.

Marcus Armstrong qualified fifth at 1:05.9402 in the No. 11 Root Insurance Chip Ganassi Racing Honda but will start six positions lower Sunday due to a penalty for an unapproved engine change after the team test June 27 at Iowa Speedway.

Marcus Ericsson closed out the Firestone Fast Six qualifiers at 1:05.9592 in the No. 28 Delaware Life Honda of Andretti Global.

Christian Rasmussen was the top rookie qualifier, ninth at 1:05.6911 in the No. 20 Guy Care Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Racing. That’s a career best, as his previous top spot was 13th in early June on the streets of Detroit.

While the debut of the new hybrid unit on all engines is a major storyline this weekend, the number of heavy hitters starting from midpack or further back also is drawing headlines. Every team not only worked to understand the change in balance to its cars due to the additional weight from the hybrid unit, but the repaving of the 13-turn, 2.258-mile roller coaster of a road course also created setup challenges due to increased grip.

Series champions Will Power and Scott Dixon, Palou’s closest pursuers in the points, have a long way to go to get to the front Sunday. Six-time Mid-Ohio winner Dixon qualified 14th in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, while 2020 Mid-Ohio winner Power qualified 16th in the No. 12 Verizon Business Team Penske Chevrolet.

IndyCar PR