Josef Newgarden scored his first pole position of the NTT IndyCar Series season, qualifying first Sunday morning in the starting lineup for the Detroit Chevrolet Grand Prix Race 2 at Belle Isle Raceway.
The Team Penske driver turned a 1-minute, 14.1094-second lap around the 14-turn, 2.3-mile street course to capture the 12th pole position of his career and first since Iowa Speedway last July.
“This car has been fast all weekend; we were really fast in the race yesterday,” Newgarden, who started fifth and finished 10th Saturday despite a tire problem, told NBC Sports reporter Marty Snider. “Unfortunately, we got caught a lap down with a small mistake, but these guys were awesome. We worked our way back to a top 10, which is all you can ask for on a day like yesterday. So I was really proud of the resilience of the team.
STARTING LINEUP: Order for Race 2
“Great to be here in Detroit. We take this race very seriously.”
The Detroit Grand Prix is operated and promoted by the staff of Roger Penske, who also owns Newgarden’s car as well as the IndyCar Series.
It’s been a rough start to 2021 for Team Penske, which is winless through seven races. It’s been eight years since the team needed eight races to earn its first victory. Will Power, Newgarden’s teammate, nearly broke through Saturday before a mechanical problem during a red flag while leading late in Race 1 ruined his chances.
Power had another tough go Sunday morning, qualifying 20th in an eventful session that ended with Santino Ferrucci smacking the wall just as the second and final round ended.
A tough break for Santino Ferrucci.
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Oliver Askew, who is substituting for Felix Rosenqvist after a violent crash Saturday sent the Swede to the hospital, turned the slowest lap but will start 23rd of 25 drivers by virtue of being in Group 1.
Borrowing Juan Pablo Montoya’s firesuit and Alex Palou’s shoes, Askew is making his first IndyCar start since the 2020 season finale at St. Petersburg last October. Rosenqvist replaced Askew in the No. 7 Dallara-Chevrolet for 2021.
“Very happy Felix is OK,” Askew told Snider. “We have the best safety crew in racing. Thankfully Felix is going to be all right. Got the callup quite late last night. We were here until 1 a.m. The crew guys probably slept 1 or 2 hours last night getting this car ready so big hats off to them.
“It’s really good to be back in the series. First time in Detroit as well. A track I’ve always wanted to drive, and we’ll get the most out of today for sure. It was interesting. Not as bumpy as everyone was saying. I think the guys did a really good job of making this car compliant over the bumps. Pato (O’Ward) gave me a lot of tips, so did Felix and Robert (Wickens) as well. We did a track walk late last night and couldn’t see much, but it was good.”
QUALIFYING RESULTS FOR CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX, RACE 2
1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:14.1094 (114.156 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:14.4300 (113.664)
3. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 1:14.8180 (113.074)
4. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:14.8432 (113.036)
5. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:14.9060 (112.942)
6. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:14.9231 (112.916)
7. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:15.3524 (112.272)
8. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:15.4162 (112.177)
9. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:15.4187 (112.174)
10. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:15.5294 (112.009)
11. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:15.9478 (111.392)
12. (45) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 1:16.1146 (111.148)
13. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:16.5387 (110.532)
14. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:15.9533 (111.384)
15. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:16.6085 (110.432)
16. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:16.0805 (111.198)
17. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:16.6456 (110.378)
18. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:16.1356 (111.118)
19. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:16.8947 (110.021)
20. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:16.4386 (110.677)
21. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:17.1815 (109.612)
22. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:16.5514 (110.514)
23. (7) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 1:19.1486 (106.888)
24. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:16.5805 (110.472)
25. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:17.9838 (108.484)