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Alex Palou wins IndyCar Mid-Ohio pole by a historically close margin

Alex Palou after Honda Indy 200 qualifying on Saturday at Mid-Ohio (Photo courtesy - Penske Entertainment / James Black)

LEXINGTON, Ohio (WISH) – NTT IndyCar Series driver Alex Palou has proven over the years that he is pretty good when it comes to racing at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

On Saturday, he proved that again, capturing the pole for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

It’s his second consecutive pole this season and his third pole in the last six races.

“Super happy to start on the front row tomorrow, and best way to kick off the hybrid era,” Palou said.

The difference though this weekend was just how little he finished ahead of the next-quickest driver, Arrow McLaren’s Pato O’Ward, during qualifications.

Palou edged O’Ward for the pole by just 0.0024 of a second. That means it’s the tightest front row qualifying since the Firestone Fast Six was created in 2005 for road and street courses.

“Yeah, super, super tight,” O’Ward said. “From watching group 1 in Q1, it was as tight as you would imagine it being, to be honest. But yeah, it’s irritating, annoying to miss it by just that little bit.”

The following are other close margins between front row starters over the years during the Firestone Fast Six era (all times are in seconds):

  1. 2024 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – 0.0024
  2. 2023 GMR Grand Prix – 0.0027
  3. 2021 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio – 0.0031
  4. 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – 0.0039
  5. 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – 0.0044
  6. 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – 0.0058
  7. 2023 Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey – 0.0097
  8. 2012 Edmonton Indy – 0.0108
  9. 2016 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit – 0.0119
  10. 2018 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – 0.0128

Palou has plenty of momentum heading into Sunday’s race. He is not only leading the current NTT IndyCar Series standings, but he is also the defending race winner at Mid-Ohio.

David Malukas, Colton Herta and Marcus Armstrong will start third through fifth respectively on Sunday.

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio is slated to go green at 1:53 p.m. EDT.