Newgarden captures pole at Road America

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Newgarden captures pole at Road America

IndyCar

Newgarden captures pole at Road America

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Josef Newgarden is many things; a two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, and now, the modern day pole master at Road America after claiming his third at the beloved Wisconsin road course since the series returned in 2016.

Newgarden’s lap of 1m46.0186s in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy was also good enough for his second consecutive pole after starting first on Sunday at Detroit, and the 13th of his career. More remarkable, Newgarden broke from the other Firestone Fast Six runners by leaving the red-banded tires on pit lane and using primary tires to leave a big gap between himself and Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta in P2 with the No. 26 Honda (+0.2430s).

“We knew this this morning this is what we were gonna do,” Newgarden said of the primary strategy. “I didn’t know where everyone else was at [on strategy], so just happy to see it work out. I definitely love Road America. This is a this is one of the best tracks in the world. I just think the support for IndyCar racing is massive up in this part of the country. This is this is a great place to drive an IndyCar.”

After Herta, the rest of the Fast Six was settled with an impressive lap by Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey in the No. 60 Honda (+0.7020s), Penske’s Will Power in the No. 12 Chevy (+0.8051s), Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in P5 with the no. 10 Honda (+0.8447s), and Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in the No. 22 Chevy (+1.1088s).

“I think it’s difficult either way,” Herta said of the choice between primaries and the faster but less durable Firestone reds. “You know, as we saw, I think today that Josef made the right call on the new [primaries] and that was a better play. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a new set. We thought about saving it for practice, but we didn’t end up doing that, which I think would have been the right call. Starting second is going to be an interesting one for sure.”

RESULTS

TAKEAWAYS 

Fastest Driver: Josef Newgarden, 1m46.0186s

Slowest Driver: Cody Ware, 1m47.7324s

Notable Mentions:

  • Detroit Round 2 winner Pato O’Ward was both surprised and disappointed to be down in P10 with an oversteering No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevy. Temporary teammate Kevin Magnussen was equally disappointed to be P21 on his IndyCar debut.
  • Continuing theme of decent pace for A.J. Foyt Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais who went P11 with the No. 14 Chevy.
  • Nice job by Team Penske to claim P1, P4, and P6 as they hunt for their first win of 2021.
  • Big performance by Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan’s Ed Jones in P12 while rebounding from a dreadful start to the event.
  • Similar note for CGR’s Scott Dixon who lost most of the morning practice session due to car damage and recovered to go P13 in qualifying.
  • Rough run for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with Graham Rahal in P14 and Takuma Sato in P20.

Up Next: Final Practice, 5:30 p.m. ET, on Peacock

AS IT HAPPENED 

In the first 10-minute segment of the three-round knockout qualifying session, Firestone re-tire running took off in the last five minutes where Colton Herta claimed P1 with a 1m46.0084s lap. Romain Grosjean was well behind in P2 at a 1m46.6732s.

With two minutes left, Alex Palou went to P1 with a 1m45.8821. Conor Daly went to P2 behind Herta with a 1m46.3976s. At the checkered flag, Sebastien Bourdais went to P3 with a 1m46.1085s as Herta claimed P1 with a 1m45.7504s lap.

Behind Herta, Palou, and Bourdais, Simon Pagenaud went P4, Romain Grosjean was P5, and Ryan Hunter-Reay knocked Scott Dixon out of the final transfer spot on the last lap to take P6.

Those who did not make the top six in order to transfer into the Fast 12 were Dixon, Conor Daly, Scott McLaughlin, Kevin Magnussen (+1.6272s), and Jimmie Johnson.

In the second 10-minute segment of the three-round knockout qualifying session, the group was headed by Jack Harvey on Firestone’s harder primary tires with a 1m46.1294s lap before the field pitted to take reds and go for their best laps.

Josef Newgarden went straight to P1 with a 1m46.0125s lap, and Ed Jones threw down a stellar lap with one minute left for P2 with a 1m46.0718. With 30 seconds remaining, Alexander Rossi went P1 with a big lap of 1m45.8519s and Newgarden responded to retake P1 with a 1m45.6078.

The final lap saw Askew and Graham Rahal bumped out of the Fast Six as the order went Newgarden, Rossi, Will Power, Pato O’Ward, Jones, and Jack Harvey.

Those who missed out were Rahal, Askew, Marcus Ericsson, Takuma Sato, Max Chilton, Dalton Kellett, and Cody Ware.

The Firestone Fast 12 that splits half the group into contenders for pole in the Firestone Fast Six got under way with a first solid lap posted by Power at a 1m46.5745 as most teams left it somewhat late to switch to reds. Palou’s first flying red lap sent him to P1 at a 1m46.1629 but sub 1m46s laps were coming in the final 90 seconds. Herta landed in P1 with a 1m46.0334 as Rossi went to P2 with a 1m46.1134.

Grosjean claimed P1 at the checkered flag with a 1m45.9015 and was immediately beaten by Newgarden’s 1m45.6818. Herta went to P1 and Harvey did a second later. When it was all settled, Harvey was P1 with a 1m45.3612s lap and had five transferring behind him with Herta, Newgarden, Pagenaud, Palou, and Power as Team Penske flexed its muscles.

Locked into P7-12 were Grosjean, Hunter-Reay, Rossi, an oversteering O’Ward, Bourdais, and Jones.

The Fast Six saw Herta and Palou trade P1 with one minute left, and then Harvey split them in P2. With 21 second remaining, Newgarden went to P1 with authority on Firestone’s primary tires with a 1m46.0186. Harvey and Power jumped up to knock Palou back to P5 with Pagenaud left in P6.

Newgarden takes his second consecutive pole.

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