Conor Daly’s full GP3 season confirmed

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Conor Daly’s whirlwind offseason of driving a little bit of anything and everything now has at least one full-season confirmed. The American will race the full GP3 Series, his third season in the championship and second straight with ART Grand Prix.

Daly’s 2012 season included his first win (Barcelona), five total podiums, and a savage crash in Monaco when he was brutally blocked by Dmitry Suranovich through the tunnel, ultimately ending with Daly going airborne and into the catch fencing (below). Mercifully, he emerged unscathed. He finished sixth in the final standings.

Daly was on hand in Long Beach to make his IndyCar seat for the Indianapolis 500, where he will make his debut with A.J. Foyt Racing. There is no chance Daly will have an encore of his Monaco moment because GP3 has dropped the legendary street circuit from its 2013 calendar, and the race conflicts with the 500 anyway.

As it is, Daly will miss the opening weekend of practice for Indianapolis on May 11-12 as the GP3 season opens that weekend in Barcelona. Daly’s GP3 schedule frees up time for potential future IndyCar races with Foyt after the Monza round Sept. 7-8. IndyCar’s last two rounds are at Houston (Foyt’s home race) Oct. 5-6 and the 500-mile finale at Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 19.

Daly also made a one-off GP2 start with Hilmer Motorsport in Malaysia.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.