After winning yesterday’s Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, Josef Newgarden won the pole position for Race 2 this afternoon with a lap of 1 minute, 14.8607 seconds around the 2.35-mile Belle Isle Park street circuit.
The pole is the first for Newgarden since last year at Toronto, as well as the first of his career at Belle Isle.
“It was a good lap,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “I got it on the first one. I could tell the temperatures were coming up quicker than yesterday. Normally, our second lap is our peak lap, and I could see the grip was already there so I had to go, and the second lap was done. The tires were already burned off so I tried to maximize that first one.”
“I must have got lucky, you know? I guess it worked out.”
Race 1 polesitter Alexander Rossi attempted to make it back-to-back poles from qualifying Group 1, but his time of 1 minute, 15.1825 seconds was not enough to put his NAPA Honda at the top. He’ll start today’s race from the outside front row.
Rossi’s teammate at Andretti Autosport, Zach Veach (1:15.2625), qualified third and will share the second row with rookie Colton Herta (1:15.6478).
James Hinchcliffe (1:15.4393) and Scott Dixon (1:15.8003) are set to line up in the third row, and behind them will be two more rookies in the fourth row: Felix Rosenqvist (1:15.4958) from Chip Ganassi Racing and Patricio O’Ward (1:15.9263) from Carlin.
As for Indianapolis 500 champion Simon Pagenaud, he’ll have to climb from mid-pack again today after qualifying 14th (1:16.2190).
But it could be much worse. Graham Rahal (1:17.3698) will start this afternoon’s race from the 22nd and final starting position after he experienced a gearbox failure.
Group 2 qualifying was interrupted by a nearly 50-minute red flag delay due to water on the track at Turn 6. A tarp on the tire barriers there sagged and released rain water collected from yesterday.
Once the clean-up was over, INDYCAR officials reset the clock to the full 12 minutes for Group 2 competitors.
Coverage of Race 2 for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC.