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Months after near-fatal crash, Romain Grosjean wins pole at IMS

IndyCar rookie Romain Grosjean topped the speed chart in qualifying for Saturday's GMR Grand Prix.
Credit: AP
Romain Grosjean, of Switzerland, celebrates after winning the pole during qualifications for the IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

SPEEDWAY, Ind — Less than six months after escaping a terrifying crash in a Formula One race, Romain Grosjean is on the pole at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Frenchman was fastest in qualifying Friday for the GMR Grand Prix and will lead the team to the green flag for Saturday's race.

"That feeling... whoa! I forgot what it was," Grosjean said after his qualifying effort. "Amazing."

He said it had been at least 10 years since he last started on the pole for a race. 

"We knew he could win races, we knew he could win poles." said team owner Dale Coyne.

Grosjean said he'll have to learn the rolling start in IndyCar before the green flag drops Saturday.

He will be joined on the front row by defending series champion Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey, Alex Palou, Scott McLaughlin and Conor Daly round out the top three rows.

Last November, Grosjean nearly lost his life in a crash in the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix. As he slid off the track, his car was sliced in two by a steel barrier as fire erupted around him.

Credit: AP
Marshals run to extinguish Haas driver Romain Grosjean's car after an accident during the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, Pool)

After several tense moments, Grosjean climbed out of the inferno and over the barrier to medical crews. In interviews in the weeks after the crash, Grosjean said he thought he was going to die as flames engulfed his race car and he couldn't pull himself out. 

But thoughts of his family and his children inspired him to try again and he was able to squeeze out of the cockpit to safety. 

Grosjean joined Dale Coyne Racing for the road and street courses during this IndyCar season. 

He was also selected as the honorary driver chair for this year's Rev gala at IMS on July 31.


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