IndyCar Road America GP starting lineup: Josef Newgarden on pole position again

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IndyCar Road America lineup: ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Josef Newgarden insists this season hasn’t been overly frustrating for Team Penske even without a victory to show for it yet.

Perhaps this is the week Newgarden or another Team Penske driver finally breaks through. This is the longest Team Penske has gone without a win to start a season since 1999 (when it finished winless.

“We’ve been well within striking distance,” said Newgarden, who earned the pole position for Sunday’s NTT IndyCar Series race at Road America.

“We’re in the hunt every weekend, so I’m not dissatisfied with where we’re at,” Newgarden said. “We just need to pick it up here and hopefully have some of these results turn our way. That’s really what we need here for this second half, just to get a couple of things turning our way. I think other than that it’s been a really good year for the most part.”

Newgarden, who had won the pole for the previous race at Detroit Belle Isle Raceway, qualified first Saturday for the REV Group Grand Prix by posting a lap of 1 minute, 46.0186 seconds on a road course that extends just over 4 miles and features 14 turns.

STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start

QUALIFYING: Click here for Road America qualifying results | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 Round 2 l Round 3

He will be joined on the front row by Colton Herta. Jack Harvey will start third.

Three of the top six qualifiers were Team Penske drivers, with Will Power fourth and Simon Pagenaud sixth.


STARTING LINEUP, QUALIFYING RESULTS FOR THE REV GRAND PRIX AT ROAD AMERICA 

(Qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed)

ROW 1

1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1 minute, 46.0186 seconds (136.301 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:46.2616 (135.989)

ROW 2

3. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:46.7206 (135.404)
4. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:46.8237 (135.273)

ROW 3

5. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:46.8633 (135.223)
6. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:47.1274 (134.890)

ROW 4

7. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:45.9015 (136.451)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:45.9514 (136.387)

ROW 5

9. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:46.1037 (136.191)
10. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:46.1069 (136.187)

ROW 6

11. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:46.2225 (136.039)
12. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:46.2270 (136.033)

ROW 7

13. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:46.3427 (135.885)
14. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:46.2779 (135.968)

ROW 8

15. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:46.3976 (135.815)
16. (21) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 1:46.2902 (135.952)

ROW 9

17. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:46.8624 (135.224)
18. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:46.4069 (135.803)

ROW 10

19. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:47.0294 (135.013)
20. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:46.5130 (135.668)

ROW 11

21. (7) Kevin Magnussen, Chevrolet, 1:47.3776 (134.576)
22. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:46.5551 (135.614)

ROW 12

23. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:47.7886 (134.062)
24. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:46.9786 (135.077)

ROW 13

25. (52) Cody Ware, Honda, 1:47.7324 (134.132)

Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds