Josef Newgarden captures second pole of season at Road America

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Josef Newgarden kept Team Penske undefeated in NTT IndyCar Series qualifying this season, posting the fastest lap late in Saturday’s Road America qualifying session. Newgarden will start first today at 5 p.m. ET (NBCSN) at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, road course, which also will play host to an IndyCar race at noon Sunday.

It’s the second pole position of the season for the defending series champion, who also qualified first for the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway. Teammate Will Power won the pole last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Road America also marked the 10th career pole for Newgarden, who improved after posting the third-fastest speed in practice with a 1-minute, 45.5191-second lap around the 4.014-mile layout.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here to see the lap speeds at Road America

STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start Saturday at Road America

RACE INFORMATION: What you need to know for today’s REV Group Grand Prix

“It’s been a fast day and guys have had to be on it in terms of decision-making,” Newgarden told NBCSN’s James Hinchcliffe. “It worked out really well. Now we’ve got to worry about the race car.”

Jack Harvey, who was second fastest in practice, will start second after pacing the first group in IndyCar Road America qualifying with a time of 1:45.7290.

“At the end of the day, it’s just more of momentum-building for everyone at Meyer Shank Racing,” Harvey, whose No. 60 Dallara-Honda also started at Indianapolis last week, told NBCSN’s Dave Burns. “It makes all the hard effort and hard work that we put in just so worth it.”

GROUP 1: Click here for results

GROUP 2: Click here for results

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will make up the second row, followed by Will Power, Santino Ferrucci, Colton Herta and Felix Rosenqvist.

Scott Dixon will start ninth seeking his third consecutive NTT IndyCar Series victory.

Defending race winner Alexander Rossi qualified a disappointing 11th after Burns reported the No. 27 Dallara-Honda team again battled mechanical problems, continuing a recent string of misfortune for the Andretti Autosport driver.

Simon Pagenaud (17th) also will be coming from deep in the field of the IndyCar REV Group Grand Prix Race #1, which will begin at 5 p.m. on NBCSN.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Will Power leads weekend’s lone session

RATED ROOKIE: Rinus VeeKay rebounding well from a tough debut

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.