Newgarden to Lead Field To Green on Belle Isle

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 5 2022

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden will start from pole in Detroit on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden earned his first NTT IndyCar Series pole of the season Saturday afternoon on his final flying lap during qualifying for today’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.

Newgarden’s top lap during the Firestone Fast Six was 1-minute, 15.2153-seconds/112.477 mph in his No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. It was the first NTT P1 Award for the two-time series champion since the season-ending Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in September 2021. Newgarden also continued a trend that has seen a different driver start P1 at all seven races this season.

“I was loose; I was about hitting the wall every corner,” Newgarden said after attacking the 2.35-mile/14-turn temporary street circuit in Detroit. “I think we needed two laps to get temperature (in the Firestone tires). I was just struggling to build temp.

“It was so loose, and I was like, ‘You’ve just got to stay in it.’ I knew the track was grippier. That was a good pole. Sometimes the car is just so good that it’s hooked up. I was loose today, and we put it together. I’m really proud of the team.”

Live coverage of the 70-lap race will start at 3 p.m. (EDT) Sunday on USA Network, Peacock Premium and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato will join Newgarden in the front after his top lap of 1:15.3490/112.278 mph in the No. 51 Nurtec ODT Honda _ one of two cars from Dale Coyne Racing that advanced into the Firestone Fast Six.

Simon Pagenaud, the 2016 series champion, led a Meyer Shank Racing monopoly of Row 2, qualifying third at 1:15.3951 in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will start fourth after his best lap of 1:15.4538 in the No. 06 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda.

Pato O’Ward, the 2022 Indianapolis 500 runnerup, will start fifth at 1:16.3301 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Impressive rookie David Malukas rounded-out the Firestone Fast Six with a best lap of 1:16.6104 in the No. 18 HMD Honda fielded by Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports. It was a career-high starting spot for Malukas, whose previous best was 13th last Sunday at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon, 2022 Detroit race-winner Colton Herta and 2016 Indy 500 champ Alexander Rossi were prevented from their final attempt to advance into the Firestone Fast Six when Romain Grosjean crashed in the final seconds of the second round.

Grosjean’s No. 28 Zapata/DHL Honda clipped the barrier inside Turn 12, breaking a toe link in the suspension and causing the car to spin and make contact with the barrier on the outside of the corner. Grosjean was unhurt, but the car suffered extensive damage.

“It was a decent hit,” said Grosjean, of Andretti Autosport. “We sucked. I don’t know why. We were really good in FP1 (Friday), really good this morning and the car let go. I don’t know why.”

Andretti teammate Herta will start seventh in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, while Dixon will roll off ninth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Rossi will start 11th in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda, also fielded by Andretti Autosport. Rossi was quickest overall in pre-qualifying practice Saturday morning.

Another driver who missed out on the Firestone Fast Six was Marcus Ericsson, reigning champion of the 106th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge last Sunday. Ericsson will start eighth in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, a victim of the traffic jam of drivers trying to find track position for a final flying lap.

Rookie Kyle Kirkwood of AJ Foyt Racing, Team Penske’s Will Power and reigning series champion Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing were the highest-profile drivers failing to advance into the second round of qualifying.

Kirkwood will start 15th as his eventful weekend continued. Kirkwood led practice Friday but his No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet nosed into the tire barrier in Turn 7 after side-to-side contact with Malukas during practice Saturday morning.

Power, the 2014 series champion and qualifying ace, will start 16th in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, while Palou will start 18th in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Qualifying results Saturday for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix NTT IndyCar Series event on the 2.35-mile/14-turn Raceway at Belle Isle Park, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

  1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:15.2153 (112.477 mph)
    2. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:15.3490 (112.278)
    3. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:15.3951 (112.209)
    4. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:15.4538 (112.122)
    5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:16.3301 (110.834)
    6. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:16.6104 (110.429)
    7. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:15.1043 (112.643)
    8. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:15.2279 (112.458)
    9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:15.4057 (112.193)
    10. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:15.8670 (111.511)
    11. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:16.2179 (110.998)
    12. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:16.9740 (109.907)
    13. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:16.0154 (111.293)
    14. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:15.5482 (111.981)
    15. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:16.1255 (111.132)
    16. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:15.5731 (111.945)
    17. (77) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 01:16.1390 (111.113)
    18. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:15.6121 (111.887)
    19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:16.3068 (110.868)
    20. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:16.8347 (110.107)
    21. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:16.3374 (110.824)
    22. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:17.5499 (109.091)
    23. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:16.4265 (110.695)
    24. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:18.3657 (107.955)
    25. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
    26. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:18.6291 (107.594)

NTT IndyCar Series point-standings (top-10): 1, Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing, 226; 2, Pato O’Ward, Arrow McLaren SP, 213; 3, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing, 212; 4, Will Power, Team Penske, 202; 5, Josef Newgarden, Team Penske, 174; 6, Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, 166; 7, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske, 162; 8, Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing, 157; 9, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP, 154; 10, Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport, 142. 

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1997) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service and Ford Racing). 



| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, June 5 2022
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