NTT IndyCar Series point leader Josef Newgarden collected his second pole position of the season during qualifying for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Friday evening.
With an average two-lap speed of 186.808 miles per hour around the 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Newgarden, the final driver to make a qualifying run, was able to unseat provisional polesitter Sebastian Bourdais for the top starting position.
In addition to the front-row starting position, Newgarden’s pole-winning effort also added an additional bonus point to his lead over Alexander Rossi in the standings. Newgarden now leads Rossi by 36 points.
“This was kinda like an Iowa situation,” Newgarden told NBC Sports following his pole run. “When we were in Iowa, in practice I said ‘this is the car that can win the pole’, and we missed it just by a little bit. I would have been so mad at us as a unit if we did that again.
“I’m so happy we got it right. The guys did an amazing job with the PPG car. It was so good right off the truck.”
With Newgarden the final driver to qualify, Bourdais (185.927 mph) will start second in Saturday’s race.
Pocono winner Will Power qualified third with an average speed of 185.986 mph, while Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud (185.143 mph) qualified fourth behind the wheel of the No. 22 Menard’s Chevrolet. Takuma Sato rounded-out the top five qualifiers, posting an average speed of 185.050 mph.
Two of the primary title contenders did not qualify as close to the front as they would have liked to, however. Scott Dixon will take the green flag from the eighth position, while Rossi’s qualifying run was only good enough for an 11th-place starting position.
“Right now NAPA/Andretti Honda isn’t where it needs to be,” Rossi told NBC Sports.
Though Rossi’s qualifying run may have not been what him and his crew had hoped for, the No. 27 still has an opportunity to dial things in during final practice later in the evening (9:15 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold).
As the sunlight turns to darkness, drivers and teams will have the perfect opportunity to turn laps in conditions similar to what they’ll run Saturday night’s race.
Live, flag to flag coverage of the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 begins Saturday evening on NBCSN and streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.