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Fresh numbers for Kimball, Chilton at Carlin

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Carlin released Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton’s car numbers for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season last week, and they’re not what you might expect.

Kimball will be in the No. 23 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet and Chilton the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet for the Carlin team. They switch from numbers 83 and 8, which they’d run for the entirety of their IndyCar careers thus far.

Neither number has been prevalent on the IndyCar grid in recent years, and hasn’t been utilized since 2011.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing ran No. 23 for one of its cars from 2008 through 2011, with NBCSN IndyCar analyst Paul Tracy giving the number its most recent start at that year’s Indianapolis 500.

E.J. Viso ran No. 59 in the 2011 season for KV Racing Technology when it still had associated Lotus branding; the team also had No. 82 that year for Tony Kanaan (also with Lotus tie-in) and KV’s more traditional No. 5 for Takuma Sato.

The 2018 season opens in St. Petersburg in March, and returns to NBCSN in April at Phoenix’s renamed ISM Raceway. Carlin is expected to undertake its first tests as an IndyCar team in January, when team testing resumes.

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.