Kyffin Simpson earned his first career pole and broke the track record at the INDY NXT by Firestone Grand Prix at Road America on Saturday.
Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Simpson, from the Cayman Islands, turned a top lap of 1 minute, 49.1028 seconds in the No. 21 HMD Motorsports with CGR car. That time was nearly three seconds quicker than the previous record, 1:52.0034 set by Colton Herta in 2017. The entire 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit was repaved last fall, hiking speeds dramatically.
SEE: Qualifying Results
Simpson’s previous best starting spot was fourth in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course race.
“It was incredible,” Simpson said. “It was a crazy session. We had a red flag early on, and after that, it was just chaos on track with everyone going by. We had a plan to stick in line as a team, but that kind of went out the window when the Andrettis caught us. It was awesome to be able to get the lap.”
The 20-lap race is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. ET Sunday (Peacock, INDYCAR Radio Network).
Colin Kaminsky qualified a career-best second at 1:49.4151 in the No. 57 Abel Motorsports with Slick Locks car. His previous best start was seventh earlier this month for the second race of the Detroit doubleheader.
Rookie Reece Gold tied his career-best qualifying position by ending up third at 1:49.4828 in the No. 10 HMD Motorsports with DCR car. Fellow rookie Nolan Siegel – two points out of the championship lead – also will start from the second row after qualifying fourth at 1:49.5238 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports with DCR machine.
Louis Foster is one of four rookies in the top five on the starting grid, fifth at 1:49.5239 in the No. 26 Copart/USF Pro Championship car. Veteran Jacob Abel rounds out row three, qualifying sixth at 1:49.5634 in the No. 51 Abel Motorsports entry.
Championship leader Christian Rasmussen, who has a 178-176 edge over Siegel, qualified seventh at 1:49.5878 in the No. 6 HMD Motorsports with DCR car.
Simpson hung on to the pole during a one-lap shootout created when Matteo Nannini spun into the gravel trap outside Turn 1 with 20 seconds remaining in the session, triggering a red flag. INDYCAR officials allowed the rest of the field to turn one final qualifying lap when the track reopened.
“I was just really hoping that today would be the day that I would finally get my first pole,” Simpson said. “It was, so it’s truly incredible. We weren’t able to improve on that last lap, but no one else did, so that worked out well for us.”