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Marco Andretti roars to first career street course pole for Detroit GP Race 1

Marco Andretti Detroit 2018

Joe Skibinski

Marco Andretti blistered the second IndyCar qualifying session Saturday morning to take the pole for this afternoon’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Grand Prix Race 1 (3 p.m. ET) at Belle Isle Park.

Andretti roared to the top of the speed chart with an outstanding lap of 1:14.8514 at a speed of 113.024 mph, in the closing minute of the second qualifying session.

Andretti’s elapsed time was nearly a half-second quicker than Robert Wickens at (1:15.3267 at 112.311 mph) in the 12-minute session. It is Andretti’s career-best start on the 2.3-mile street course and his fifth career pole (first on a street course).

“I knew we just had to execute,” Andretti said. “I’ve wanted a street course pole for a while, so I’m really happy. Now, I immediately am switching my brain to try to win this race. We need a win.”

Andretti’s previous best start at Detroit was sixth, while his career-best finish has been second in 2015.

The two qualifying sessions set the field for today’s race in a unique way. The first session determined those in even-numbered positions in the race, while the second session determined the those in odd-numbered spots in the race.

Ergo, even though Scott Dixon was fastest in the first session, he will start today’s race from the outside of the front row. Even so, it was a good morning for Andretti Autosport, which qualified three of its four drivers entered in the race in the top five spots.

Robert Wickens will start third.

“It was good,” Wickens said of his qualifying effort. “We were really quick on the blacks (tires). Great job by the team. We should be pretty good in the race.”

Drivers in both sessions had to run at least one lap each during qualifying on both black and red Firestone tires.

Here’s the starting lineup:

Row 1: Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon

Row 2: Robert Wickens and Alexander Rossi

Row 3: Ryan Hunter-Reay and Indy 500 winner Will Power

Row 4: Takuma Sato and teammate Graham Rahal

Row 5: James Hinchcliffe and Max Chilton

Row 6: Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot

Row 7: Simon Pagenaud and teammate Josef Newgarden

Row 8: Tony Kanaan and Zach Veach

Row 9: Sebastien Bourdais and Santino Ferrucci

Row 10: Gabby Chaves and Jordan King

Row 11: Matheus Leist and Charlie Kimball

Row 12: Rene Binder

Here are results of the two qualifying sessions:

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