After having to abandon his first lap on the track in Round 1, Byron was among the first to hit the track in the final 10-minute session and set an average single-lap speed of 100.044 mph – the fastest lap of the weekend so far.
The pole is Byron’s second of the 2021 season, in which there have only been six qualifying sessions so far. He also won the pole at Road America in July.
“Thanks to Hendrick Motorsports, they build phenomenal road course cars. They’ve been super-fast,” Byron said. “I hope we have the speed in the race from my end to back it up.
“We’ve definitely been doing a good job in qualifying. I’m glad we got qualifying back because I feel like it’s one of our strengths on the No. 24 team.
“Looking forward to the race, and like I said, hope we can keep it up there.”
Rookie Chase Briscoe ended up second (99.561 mph), but nearly a half-mile-an-hour slower. Last weekend’s winner, Chase Elliott, was third (99.518 mph).
“We’ve had some good runs on the road courses. Obviously with our points situation, we’ve got to win, so we can just go and whatever gives us the best track position, we’ll do,” Briscoe said.
“Hopefully we’ll end up in Victory Lane.”
Kyle Larson was fourth and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top-five.
Completing the top-12 starters are Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, A.J. Allmendinger, Ross Chastain, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick and Michael McDowell.
Larson, fresh off his win Saturday night at the Knoxville Nationals, led the way in the first 25-minute session, with an average single-lap speed of 99.856 mph.
Briscoe was second (99.739 mph) and Allmendinger third (99.614 mph). Truex and Byron rounded out the top-five.
Also advancing to the second round were Custer, Reddick, Logano, Chastain, McDowell, Elliott and Suarez.
Byron had to abandon his first flying lap on the track after locking his brakes but came back following a stop in the garage to still post a lap in the top-five.
Among those who failed to advance were Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch.
Corey LaJoie was still completing his final flying lap when time expired but a track safety vehicle apparently though the session complete and went on track. LaJoie saw the track and successfully avoid it.
“That was a problem. I’ve never been able to say, at speed, that you have a safety vehicle out there,” he said. “It’s nice to know the radios are working here at Indy but that guy’s radio wasn’t working.
“Thankfully everybody’s safe and in one piece.”