Monterey, Calif. (10 September 2022) – Meyer Shank Racing’s (MSR) Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves will share the sixth row for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the final race of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
Both drivers showed strong Saturday pace and were able to set top six times to advance from their respective opening qualifying sessions.
Pagenaud was ranked 11th in the opening group with a banker lap of 1:14.8312-seconds when the session was red-flagged with 4:46-minutes remaining. While the clock was running out, IndyCar officials ruled that competitors would be given the opportunity to run one flying lap. Pagenaud made the most of the opportunity, moving up to third in the Group 1 qualifying group as he ran a lap of 1:11.887-seconds in the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda to advance to the Fast 12.
In the second group of qualifiers, MSR teammate Castroneves was seventh with two minutes on the clock, and was able to improve with a best lap of 1:11.661-seconds to place fourth in the second group and also moving into the Fast 12.
Pagenaud and Castroneves returned to the fray with Castroneves third and Pagenaud sixth midway through the Fast 12 qualifying session. The duo were the lone drivers to start the session on the softer alternate (red) tires.
As the remainder of the contenders switched to red tires for the final three minutes, the times tightened as Pagenaud improved to 1:12.280-seconds and Castroneves to 1:12.885-seconds, but were respectively bumped to 11th and 12th in the closing minute.
The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will air on NBC on Sunday starting at 2:40pm ET. IndyCar Radio will be broadcast live on SiriusXM Ch. 160.
“So far it’s been a great weekend, we’ve had a lot of pace. It’s been a bit treacherous as usual. You only really get one lap on the reds because of the tire deg and after that they kind of fall off. Unfortunately, we had a yellow flag at the end of our lap and we couldn’t advance to the Fast Six despite our lap being good enough to transfer. Congrats to Will Power, I guess he has the record now for most pole positions – he’s a great friend and good job man. Now let’s have a good race tomorrow, it’s been a fun season and I hope to finish it out really well tomorrow.”
“It was a little confusing with the yellow going up into the corkscrew, a car went off and everyone slowed up and we had to abort the lap. I had a lap going that was better, it probably wouldn’t have allowed us to transfer, but it would have been better than 12th. But to focus on the good things, both the Meyer Shank Racing cars transferred into the Fast 12 today, so that was good. We made a small adjustment on the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM car and it felt good and I think we are on a little bit of a roll and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”