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IndyCar starting lineup for 2021 season opener at Barber Motorsports Park

IndyCar Barber starting lineup

Chris Owens 2021

The 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season will begin at Barber Motorsports Park with a rising star on the point of the starting lineup Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (3 p.m., NBC).

Pato O’Ward, 21, set a track record Saturday to capture his second career pole position and will lead the field to green in the 90-lap race. The Mexican driver is seeking his first victory after coming close several times last season (notably in his most recent start from the pole at Road America last July).

“I want to win races,” O’Ward said. “I want to challenge for the championship the whole year. We want to constantly be at the top. Not just myself, but the whole team. We want to give these vets like (Josef) Newgarden and (Scott) Dixon that already have multiple championships under their belt something to think of, a little bit of more stress than what they might have the past few years.

“Last year, I mean, we were close to winning four races at least. I think this year we just have to arrive with a very similar mentality. I’m really happy with what we got to achieve last year. But we just need to take that next step.”

BLACKS OR REDS? Click here for the starting lineup with inital tire designation

The Arrow McLaren SP driver, who finished fourth in the 2020 points standings of his first full season, will start alongside 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who qualified a career best on the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course east of Birmingham, Alabama.

“It’s good to start here,” said Rossi, who is coming off a winless 2020. “Barber hasn’t really been a good track for us before. This was always going to be a little bit of a question mark, like, ‘Are we still going to be able to be OK here?’ It’s definitely better. We’ll have a long think about it and make sure we have a good race car and fight for the win.”

Alex Palou, 24, tied a career best starting spot in his debut with Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 10 Dallara-Honda. Will Power, a two-time winner at Barber, will start on the outside of the second row.

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Six-time and defending series champion Scott Dixon, who is seeking his first victory at Barber after six runner-up finishes, will start fifth alongside Ganassi teammate Marcus Ericsson in the third row.

Jimmie Johnson will start 21st in his IndyCar debut after the seven-time NASCAR Cup champion enjoyed an exhilarating first day of practice and qualifying Saturday that left him smiling.

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup Sunday in the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Position, car number, driver, manufacturer, time):


1. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:05.8479 (125.744 mph)
2. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:05.9177 (125.611)


3. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:06.0538 (125.352)
4. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:06.1186 (125.230)


5. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:06.3976 (124.703)
6. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:06.4102 (124.680)


7. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:05.7643 (125.904)
8. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:05.7902 (125.855)


9. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:05.7957 (125.844)
10. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:05.9118 (125.622)


11. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:05.9634 (125.524)
12. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:06.7226 (124.096)


13. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:06.5578 (124.403)
14. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:06.4770 (124.554)


15. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:06.6480 (124.235)
16. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:06.5035 (124.505)


17. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:06.8512 (123.857)
18. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:06.8489 (123.861)

ROW 10

19. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.1026 (123.393)
20. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:07.0021 (123.578)

ROW 11

21. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:07.7092 (122.288)
22. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:07.0254 (123.535)

ROW 12

23. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:07.8100 (122.106)
24. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, No Time (No Speed)

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for the full rundown

ROUND BY ROUND: Group 1 l Group 2 l Round 2 l Fast Six