Hometown favorite Josef Newgarden met an unfortunate end to qualifying for the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville after crashing on the final lap of the Firestone Fast 12 qualifying round.
Holding sixth at the time — the last driver to transfer into the Fast Six — Newgarden hit the wall, smashed his right-front suspension, brought out a yellow flag, and was penalized according to Rule 184.108.40.206, his fastest lap was voided due to triggering the local yellow.
The penalty dropped Newgarden and the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy from sixth to 12th, and after collecting his thoughts, the two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion was clearly disappointed to be relegated near the middle of the pack for Sunday’s 80-lap race.
“I just wrecked. Disappointing, obviously — not what I wanted to do, but I was just trying to make up the deficit from yesterday and today,” said the uninjured Newgarden. “I’m really proud to be from here and to have Indy cars back, especially downtown This is crazy cool. I would have never dreamed of this actually getting off the ground this type of event.
“So I’m pretty pumped for tomorrow. I just wish we were a little higher up, you know — trying to claw some performance back there and I over-pushed. I think we can make something out of it, but it’s going to be harder now.”