Honda’s Palou and Rosevqvist Claim Heat Race Poles for Thermal $1 Million Challenge

  • Felix Rosenqvist scores pole for the first Heat Race in the made for TV event
  • Led by Alex Palou, Honda locks out first three rows for second $1 Million Challenge Heat Race at The Thermal Club
  • Christian Lundgaard qualifies P4 in Heat 1 after pacing practice at Thermal

Alex Palou led a top-six Honda sweep of IndyCar qualifying today for the second of two Heat Races at The Thermal Club as part of this weekend's NTT INDYCAR SERIES $1 Million Challenge.

Reigning series champion Palou and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Marcus Armstrong locked out the front row, while fellow Honda drivers Graham Rahal, Linus Lundqvist, Tom Blomqvist and Pietro Fittipaldi filled out an all-Honda top six for the second heat race of the event. 

Felix Rosenqvist made it two Hondas on pole for Sunday's heat races, scoring pole for Heat Race 1 in the made for TV event. Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Christian Lundgaard led the field in the four practice sessions held on Friday and Saturday, before qualifying fourth for Heat 1 aboard his #45 Hy-Vee Honda. 

The two heat races tomorrow will determine the 12 drivers who will advance to the final "All Star" race—six from each heat. Heat 2 results will form the 'odd' positions on the grid—by virtue of Palou setting the fastest lap in today's qualifying sessions—while Heat 1 race results will comprise the 'even' grid positions. 

The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge Honda Qualifying Results

Heat 1:

  • 1st Felix Rosenqvist  
Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 4th Christian Lundgaard
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda   
  • 9th Scott Dixon
Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 11th Colton Herta
Andretti Global Honda
  • 12th Nolan Siegel-R
Dale Coyne Racing Honda
  • 13th Kyle Kirkwood    
Andretti Global Honda

Heat 2

  •  1st Alex Palou
Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 2nd Marcus Armstrong
Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 3rd Graham Rahal
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 4th Linus Lundqvist-R
Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 5th Tom Blomqvist-R
Meyer Shank Racing Honda
  • 6th Pietro Fittipaldi     
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda
  • 10th Kyffin Simpson-R
Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
  • 12th Colin Braun-R   
Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda
  • 13th Marcus Ericsson
Andretti Global Honda

R – Rookie

Format for the $1 Million Challenge

  • Two heat races, the first starting at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday, will determine the field for The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge. Each heat race will consist of 10 laps or be timed at 20 minutes. Laps under full course yellow will not count; however, the race clock will continue.
  • The top six advancing cars from each heat race will make up the 12-car field for The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge. The final will consist of 20 laps divided into two 10-lap sprint segments with a 10-minute "halftime" break following the completion of Lap 10.
  • In addition to the winner's $500,000 purse, the $1 Million Challenge will pay out $350,000 for second; $250,000 for third; $100,000 for fourth and $50,000 for fifth. Sixth through 27th will receive $23,000 each for their efforts.

Felix Rosenqvist (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Honda) pole qualifier for Sunday's Heat Race 1: "We tried to stay calm after a pretty messy practice session for us. It was just like 'forget that session, take a deep breath, and do it all again'. It's just so freaky out there man, the wind is changing with every lap, but we were able to put a really quick one together when it counted, and that's awesome. I think this team is just jelling together more and more with every session, and that's huge for us for sure."
Alex Palou (#10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) pole qualifier for Sunday's Heat Race 2: "That was great, looking forward to tomorrow. That's the best starting position and I'm happy that after all that confusion with the Red Flag [following Marcus Ericsson's crash] that we were still able to put a lap together. We only had 14 seconds [out of 40 seconds of "push to pass"] left after the Red, as we were using everything we had on the lap where it went red. So I'm pretty happy with our pace. The car is good, so we're really looking forward to tomorrow."

Where to Watch
Television coverage of Sunday's $1 Million Challenge starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC.  Complete, flag-to-flag race coverage also will be available on NBC Peacock, the INDYCAR Radio Network, and SiriusXM INDYCAR Nation (Channel 160).

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