Newgarden Grabs Sonoma Pole in Penske Top Four Lockout

Josef Newgarden took his first Penske pole at Sonoma - Credit: Chris Owens / IndyCar

Josef Newgarden did his championship ambitions no harm as he took pole position for the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, with the point he has earned for it extending his advantage to four points.

It was the ideal time for the young American to secure his first pole position of the season as he bids to clinch his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series title on Sunday, although all five championship contenders will start inside the top six.

Team Penske have locked out the top four grid positions at Sonoma, with Will Power joining Newgarden on the front row, just ahead of Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves, with all four in contention for the title.

Newgarden’s best of 1:15.5205s gave Penske their eleventh pole position of the season, but it was a close run thing between him and Power, with the Australian just 0.0351 seconds down, while Pagenaud took third, 0.1151 seconds back, with the Frenchman also seeing his 2016 track record beaten.

Castroneves could not better fourth, but he will start on the outside of the second row, ahead of Takuma Sato, the only non-championship contender to make it through to the Fast Six shootout, and Scott Dixon, the lone Chip Ganassi Racing driver in the battle for the title and the one looking to deny all four Penske drivers the crown.

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi will form an all Andretti Autosport row four after both missed out on advancing into the Fast Six, with Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais on row five ahead of Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan.

Conor Daly recovered from difficult practice sessions to just miss out on advancing into the second segment of qualifying, with the AJ Foyt Racing driver set to start thirteenth, alongside Max Chilton, with Charlie Kimball and James Hinchcliffe on row eight ahead of Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones, while the field will be rounded out by Jack Harvey, JR Hildebrand, debutant Zachery Claman DeMelo and Carlos Muñoz.

Sonoma Raceway Qualifying Result

12Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:15.5205
212Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:15.5556
31Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:15.6356
43Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:15.8032
526Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:16.2208
69Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:16.3978
- - Eliminated in Q2- - -
728Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.1815
898Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:16.1934
915Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:16.1968
1018Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing1:16.5811
1127Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:16.8221
1210Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:16.9718
- - Eliminated in Q1- - -
134Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.1016
148Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:16.7581
1583Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:17.1417
165James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:16.9539
1720Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.2662
1819Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:17.0231
197Jack HarveyGBRSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:17.2722
2021JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:17.1602
2113Zachery Claman DeMeloCANRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:17.2814
2214Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:17.2507