Qualifying for round one of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR Series season is complete, and Patricio (Pato) O’Ward led the way for Team Chevy on the 1.8-mile/14-turn Streets of St. Petersburg. O’Ward battled his way to third in the Firestone Fast Six behind the wheel of the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet to secure a second row starting position for the 100-lap/180-mile race.
Last season’s NTT Pole Award and race winner Scott McLaughlin, No.3 Dex Imaging Team Penske Chevrolet, will roll off in the sixth starting position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Romain Grosjean (Honda) won the NTT Pole Award. Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, and Kyle Kirkwood (all Honda) complete the drivers that competed in Fast Six qualifying for the pole.
The morning warmup on Sunday is at 9 a.m. ET and will be live on Peacock, INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take the green flag Sunday, March 5 at 12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC, Peacock, INDYCAR Radio, and SiriusXM Channel 160.
PATO O’WARD, NO. 5 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET
“We've got a car to fight with tomorrow. I'm really, really happy with it. From the first practice, we didn't get the cleanest of runs on every single tire, but we knew we had a competitive car, so coming into qualifying, it was just all about executing. I'm excited for tomorrow, I really am."
SCOTT MCLAUGHLIN, NO.3 DEX IMAGING TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET
“Overall, not a bad day for us on the DEX Imaging Chevy. We beat our teammates in qualifying, which is your first job. We ended up P6 after our spin. I felt like we had a car for pole today, which is really disappointing that I made a mistake. I hit the wall at Turn 10 on my first out lap and bent it, then spun. Unfortunately, it caused a red and took us out of qualifying but we’ll be okay for tomorrow. We can definitely win from there.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 6 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET
“I wasn't happy with my lap there because you know, you can always do some things better. I had a little hit on the limiter in Turn 9, but you're down to the hundredths of a second, even thousandths at this point, and we were six guys within the same tenth of a second. It's frustrating. But at the end of the day for our team, that's a good starting position. It's a good way to start the year we want to be on that side of the grid, not that one. And cars just felt good all weekend. I think we were vibing as a team. The McLaren crew is stepping up this year, so I am pumped about vibing with the team.
It's been good. I think (Alexander’s) fitting into team really good. Me and Pato had always a good friendship and we work well together. I think Alex just fit right into that. We’re all very open, we ask questions to each other. We're honest, and we tried to help the team go forward. I feel older this week. It’s paid off to have a third car. It's just so much better to have some extra data every session and maybe a third car to try another setup item or to do so much more in the right direction. The readiness for qualifying felt way better this year than any of the last years, and I think that's what we're all about. We're all competitive. Good start to have a good feeling.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET
“Wanted to be farther up but the wind definitely affected us. Still happy to make it to the top-10 obviously. Very fierce, fierce competition out there to get the Firestone Fast Six but look at Andretti, three of their cars in top-five. There are other good guys obviously out there but I'm pretty happy with where we are.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI, NO. 7 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET
“It was a good recovery from yesterday. I think we had some issues that we weren't able to resolve, and those were rectified for the most part today. A little bit disappointed to be P12, but ultimately, I think it was a good effort from the team to get us back into a competitive spot. The cars are quick, as you can see with the results from Pato (O’Ward) and Felix (Rosenqvist) got today. We'll keep understanding overnight and come back tomorrow."
SANTINO FERRUCCI, NO. 14 SEXTON PROPERTIES AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET
“Solid day for us at AJ Foyt Racing. P9 in my group in qualifying, especially after what happened in FP2. Really just struggling with the car. Making leaps and bounds forward. I think we have a very great racecar, so going from that, we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
AGUSTIN CANAPINO, NO. 78 JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING CHEVROLET
“I'm very happy to be here, to be honest. I could do much better, but my first time with softer tires pushed into a lap with these cars in this speed is really, really tricky. I'm really happy to learn the data in this way. Of course, we need to improve on everything. But I feel very close to the mid-back. So tomorrow I will try to finish the race. It will be honestly very difficult because the physical condition here. It is very different in the other way in the touring car, so I will take the car plus now like now trying to finish the race. But for me, again, I'm very happy to be here. It's my big dream. Of course, I am very competitive so I feel I could do much, much, much better, but for now, this is good.”
CALLUM ILOTT, NO, 77 JUNCOS HOLLINGER RACING CHEVROLET
“Pretty disappointed with qualifying to be honest. Ended up P22. Really not great. I think we struggled to find the time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much time to run the green (alternate) tires. A bit of an error on our side. We were in the back a little bit for qualifying. The car felt good but we’re not quick. A bit strange. Obviously, a lot to work on. The race is a completely different kettle of fish. Hopefully we can make it work tomorrow, consistent and clean with good strategy and try our best. Today was a little bit disappointing, but we’ll reset, refresh, and try and get as many points as we can tomorrow.”
RINUS VEEKAY, NO.21 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET
“Tough one. Pretty annoyed, angry. We had a fast car. We had a Fast Six car definitely. I was on my lap and starting the second lap, which is still a good lap on tires, and there were a bunch of cars standing still in Turn 10. Got hindered there. That was it. That was going to be a pretty good lap, the lap after was probably going to be better. We have a fast car. I think tomorrow, if anything positive, this makes decisions easier on strategy. We have some different ways to go, we’ll just give it our all. We had a tough race, but still finished sixth. With the pace we have, I think we’re better than last year. We can definitely move up fast and do very well.”
CONOR DALY, NO. 20 BITNILE ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET
“The car, I thought, for sure we've made a step forward on the balance compared to last year, but everyone's working to be better themselves. We just needed a little bit more out of it. The balance is quite good. But yeah just the race because this race is crazy. But just thank everyone a bit now about calm for being here and supporting us. We'll see what happens. It's his race is a wild one on the bright side. I got my boy Rinus right in front of me. We'll both work together as a team and we'll try to get forward to go get them tomorrow.”
BENJAMIN PEDERSON, NO.55 SEXTON PROPERTIES AJ FOYT RACING CHEVROLET
“First ever qualifying in an Indy car, done. The best feeling car I’ve had all week. We made a lot of progress yesterday and focusing on how to get the most out of this car. I’ve never driven an Indy car around here on the Streets of St. Petersburg, and I’m just learning as much as I can. The next focus now is the race. Everything from fuel saving to pit stops, those will be brand new things for me. Trying to embrace everything this weekend set ourselves up for good success the rest of the year. Really just something to keep building from.”