IndyCar

Josef Newgarden Wins Final Pole at Belle Isle

3 Mins read
(Photo Credit: Joe Skibinski / Penske Entertainment / Courtesy of IndyCar)

In Chevrolet’s backyard, Team Penske‘s Josef Newgarden takes pole for the Detroit Grand Prix, the seventh different driver in as many races to sit on the pole.

In the final lap of the Fast Six session, the American snatched the pole from Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing‘s Takuma Sato, who will start next to Newgarden in second.

“That was good pole,” Newgarden said post-session. “You know sometimes the car is just so good that it’s hooked up, I was so loose today but we put it together so I’m really proud of the team.”

Newgarden has been in this position before, specifically the second race of last year’s doubleheader, where he dominated from the pole but saw the win slip away in the final laps. He is determined to not let that happen again.

“…We’ve got to be really focused on the race and how we’re going to get to the end and finish it off.”

The second row is a Meyer Shank Racing lockout, with Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves starting third and fourth respectively. Both drivers won their first races at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and are in a good position to win the last before the race moves to downtown Detroit in 2023.

Pato O’Ward starts fifth alongside rookie David Malukas, who put on a brilliant performance. The young American fought some of the top drivers in the field to go fastest in his group in the first round of qualifying as well as second fastest in the Fast Twelve to make his first Fast Six.

The Fast Twelve ended with a red flag for Romain Grosjean at the end of the session, catching many top contenders out on fast laps. The Swiss-born Frenchman caught the outside wall in Turn 11, breaking a tow link, before losing control and pounding the concrete barrier in Turn 12. Thankfully, he was unharmed, but was visibly frustrated with the mistake.

“We sucked,” Grosjean said. “I don’t know why.”

This left Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson, Scott Dixon, Scott McLaughlin, and Alexander Rossi unable to improve on their laps, which some were on pace to do. They will occupy rows four through six along with Grosjean.

Notable first round exits included Conor Daly and Graham Rahal in Group One, with Daly missing out by less than one tenth of a second while Rahal and the entire Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing camp continue to struggle to find pace. All of their cars were eliminated in the first round of qualifying.

Kyle Kirkwood, who was fastest in first practice on Friday, was another driver who narrowly missed out on advancing. His Saturday did not go according to plan, after a crash at the beginning of second practice along with a mechanical issue kept him away from valuable track time. He will start fifteenth.

In Group Two, Rinus Veekay, Alex Palou, and Will Power were all eliminated, along with Felix Rosenqvist who was penalized for qualifying interference. Coming out of the pits, the Arrow McLaren SP driver was unaware of Jimmie Johnson on a lap behind, and thus the Swede lost his two fastest lap times. Those times could have possibly seen him advance into the Fast Twelve.

Dalton Kellett was unable to set a time as the team continued repairs for a crash suffered in second practice on Saturday morning.

Newgarden will lead the field to green for the final time at Belle Isle on Sunday, 05 June at 1200 PST / 1500 EST / 1800 GMT.

Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit Qualifying Results

RANKCAR NO.DRIVERNAT.TEAMBEST TIME
12Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske01:15.2153
251Takuma SatoJPNDale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing01:15.3490
360Simon PagenaudFRAMeyer Shank Racing01:15.3951
406Helio CastronevesBRAMeyer Shank Racing01:15.4538
55Pato O’WardMEXArrow McLaren SP01:16.3301
618David Malukas (R)USADale Coyne Racing w/ HMD Motorsports01:16.6104
726Colton HertaUSAAndretti Autosport01:15.1043
88Marcus EricssonSWEChip Ganassi Racing01:15.2279
99Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing01:15.4057
103Scott McLaughlinNZLTeam Penske01:15.8670
1127Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Autosport01:16.2179
1228Romain GrosjeanFRAAndretti Autosport01:16.9740
1320Conor DalyUSAEd Carpenter Racing01:16.0154
1421Rinus VeeKayNEDEd Carpenter Racing01:15.5482
1514Kyle Kirkwood (R)USAA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:16.1255
1612Will PowerAUSTeam Penske01:15.5731
1777Santino FerrucciUSAJuncos Hollinger Racing01:16.1390
1810Alex PalouESPChip Ganassi Racing01:15.6121
1930Christian Lundgaard (R)DENRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:16.3068
2045Jack HarveyGBRRahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:16.8347
2129Devlin DeFrancesco (R)CANAndretti Steinbrenner Autosport01:16.3374
2248Jimmie JohnsonUSAChip Ganassi Racing01:17.5499
2315Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing01:16.4265
2411Tatiana Calderon (R)COLA.J. Foyt Enterprises01:18.3657
254Dalton KellettCANA.J. Foyt EnterprisesNo Time
267Felix RosenqvistSWEArrow McLaren SP01:18.6291
(R) – Rookie
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Lifelong sports junkie, currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Hofstra University. Lead writer for Indycar at The Checkered Flag.
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