Colton Harta has a track record of winning poles at Long Beach

LONG BEACH, California – Colton Harta broke the Long Beach track record in Saturday’s qualifiers, and the California native will start from the pole for his home Indica race.

Harta took a lap in 1 minute, 05.3095 seconds to gain the right to lead the eighth pole of his career on a temporary road course through downtown Long Beach and the green field on Sunday. The previous track record was 1: 06.2254 Helio Castronovs set in 2017.

Herta, who hails from nearby Valencia, is hoping to give defending race winner Andretti Autosport a fourth straight win in the most prestigious street course race in the United States.

“As a kid, I always trained to be an Indica driver and that’s because of this race,” Harta said.

Harta speeds up a quick session for Andretti, which saw him, with 2018 and 2019 winners Alexander Rossi and Roman Grosszin advancing to the final. But while Grosszin was chasing Harta for a pole, the former Formula One driver hit a tire barrier that abruptly stopped the session.

Harta celebrated when he returned to Pete Lane because he thought the session was over. Instead, Indicar says the clock has 2 seconds left and will allow drivers to get back on track for a final qualification. Felix Rosenkvist and Rossi were the only two in the fast six who made another lap and were not in the lead.

Grossjin, who was second-fastest before the crash, was docked in his fastest lap and dropped to sixth in the starting grid. That led to Tim Pensk’s Joseph Newgarden, the winner of the last Indicar outing in Texas, in second place.

Current Indica champion Alex Palo Chip is third for Gansi Racing, followed by Arrow McLaren SP, Rossi and Groszin’s Rosenkvist.

“People, Andretti cars are beautiful to look at. Not just Harta,” said Newgarden. “It’s going to be hard to beat them.”

Jimmy Johnson, who broke his right arm in an accident while practicing on Friday, wore a carbon fiber splint in it on Saturday and became the 25th qualifier in the 26-car category. He also crashed in Saturday’s practice and docked his two fastest laps to qualify for a stop to Graham Raheel when they came together on the racing surface.

“I’m in control of the damage with my hands,” Johnson said. “I have to work forward, if I can, and I’m sure some damage will be done. Hopefully hold my hand and lead me through the race, I’ll be able to log lap. I need some points, I’m in the moment. I’m in 10th place in the championship and I want to score as many points as possible. ”

Jack Harvey, who missed the race due to an accident in Texas, returned to the Long Beach competition and finished 21st.

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