Newgarden leads qualifying sweep for Penske in Texas

Images by Michael Levitt/LAT

Newgarden leads qualifying sweep for Penske in Texas

IndyCar

Newgarden leads qualifying sweep for Penske in Texas

Team Penske and Chevy dominated qualifying for the DXC Technology 600 at Texas with polesitter Josef Newgarden (220.613mph), Simon Pagenaud (220.311mph), and Will Power (220.194mph) leading the field as the only three drivers to break the 220mph barrier.

Adding to his ongoing season of rookie surprises, Robert Wickens took fourth in his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry (219.561mph) ahead of Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais (219.302mph) as the Canadian-French duo weighed in for Honda.

“I think this is a big boost for us,” Newgarden said after earning his first superspeedway pole. “It comes down to the team and the personnel we have. You see that when we have cars that go 1-2-3. A big credit to Team Penske. And to Team Chevy; that was a big part of us being able to secure pole here. I think we can find ourselves back in Victory Lane, possibly.”

With ambient temperatures creeping toward 100 degrees Fahrenheit and track temperatures north of 130, qualifying was the hottest session experienced so far by the 22-deep field.

“It’s very warm,” Newgarden added. “I don’t think we saw a person not sweating.”

Tony Kanaan represented the home state favorites at A.J. Foyt Racing in sixth (219.157mph) in his Chevy, and the rest of the top 10 went to Honda drivers as Scott Dixon (219.112mph), Alexander Rossi (218.894mph), Takuma Sato (218.578mph) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (218.553) chased the Bowties and their stablemates.

Among the surprises in qualifying, Charlie Kimball demonstrated Carlin Racing’s progress during its maiden IndyCar season as his Chevy-powered entry took 12th (218.145mph). Fresh off his Indy 500 pole and second-place finish, Ed Carpenter was expected to feature but only managed 14th in his Chevy (218.057mph). Taking a swing in the opposite direction of his SPM teammate, James Hinchcliffe hoped a particularly low-downforce setup would pay off, but 15th was the best he could manage (217.590mph).

And in a growing trend, Graham Rahal’s qualifying run was far from rewarding. The Honda-powered driver, whose reputation as one of IndyCar’s supreme passers has been built in recent years, will get another chance to cement that reputation from 20th (216.092mph).

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