IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix starting lineup: Josef Newgarden wins last pole at Belle Isle


DETROIT — Josef Newgarden became the seventh pole winner through seven IndyCar qualifying sessions this season when the two-time series champion put Team Penske at the front of the starting lineup for Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix, the event’s final time at Belle Isle Raceway.

Newgarden won the pole on the temporary street course for the third time in his career as time expired on Saturday’s qualifying session.

“I was loose; I was about hitting the wall every corner,” he said of his pole lap on the 14-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street circuit. “I think we needed two laps to get temperature (in the tires). I was just struggling to build temp.

TIRE DESIGNATIONS: Click here to see the starting lineup’s compound selection for the green flag

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for the full report from the Detroit Grand Prix l Round 1, Group 1 l Round 1, Group 2 l Round 2 l Fast Six

CHEVROLET GRAND PRIX OF DETROITHow to watch Sunday’s race, schedules, entry list

“It was so loose, and I was like, ‘You’ve just got to stay in it.’ I knew the track was grippier. That was a good pole. Sometimes the car is just so good that it’s hooked up. I was loose today, and we put it together. I’m really proud of the team.”

The American started from the pole at Belle Isle a year ago and led 67 of the 70 laps in a dominating run that appeared to be headed toward Newgarden’s first win of the season.

Instead, a late caution caused a final restart, and Pato O’Ward drove through the field over the final seven laps to snatch his first victory of the season; Newgarden finished second.

“I’ve been here before, we did this last year and fell short,” Newgarden said. “We’ve got to be really focused on the race and how we’re going to get to the end and finish it off.”

Sunday’s race (3 p.m. ET, USA, Peacock Premium) is the final Detroit Grand Prix to be run on Belle Isle. Roger Penske’s promotion group will move the event next season to a downtown Detroit race, where it started in 1982.

Newgarden, who won his 16th pole, is IndyCar’s only two-time winner this season. He was a disappointing 13th in last week’s Indianapolis 500.

Takuma Sato qualified second for Dale Coyne Racing and was followed by Meyer Shank Racing teammates Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

O’Ward qualified fifth for Arrow McLaren SP, and 20-year-old rookie David Malukas was sixth for Coyne.

Honda, the Indy 500 winning engine manufactuer, had four cars in the Fast Six of Saturday’s qualifying. Chevrolet had just two representatives, but claimed the pole with Newgarden.

Each of the four rounds of qualifying had its share of action.

Kyle Kirkwood, fastest in Friday practice and the pole-winner for the GT class in Saturday’s IMSA sports car race, crashed in Saturday morning practice and injured his right hand. He failed to advance out of the first group and said after his taped hand “isn’t great.”

In the next group, Felix Rosenqvist was penalized for impeding Jimmie Johnson’s qualifying run. In the round of 12, IndyCar investigated an incident between reigning champion Alex Palou and Will Power. No action was taken, and Power was initially angry that Palou had ruined his qualifying lap, but ultimately conceded neither he or Palou was advancing into the Fast Six.

But there was still a possibility of a fantastic Indy 500 rebound for Andretti Autosport, which had three of its four drivers poised to advance into the Fast Six. Romain Grosjean crashed, though, and it ruined any shot of his Andretti teammates Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi advancing.

“It was a decent hit,” Grosjean said. “We sucked. I don’t know why. We were really good in (Friday practice), really good this morning, and the car let go. I don’t know why.”

The Grosjean crash also eliminated Scott Dixon of Ganassi and Scott McLaughlin of Penske from advancing.

Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s Detroit Grand Prix on the 14-turn, 2.35-mile street course (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time, speed):


1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:15.2153 (112.477 mph)
2. (51) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:15.3490 (112.278)


3. (60) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 01:15.3951 (112.209)
4. (06) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 01:15.4538 (112.122)


5. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:16.3301 (110.834)
6. (18) David Malukas, Honda, 01:16.6104 (110.429)


7. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:15.1043 (112.643)
8. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:15.2279 (112.458)


9. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:15.4057 (112.193)
10. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 01:15.8670 (111.511)


11. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:16.2179 (110.998)
12. (28) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 01:16.9740 (109.907)


13. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:16.0154 (111.293)
14. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:15.5482 (111.981)


15. (14) Kyle Kirkwood, Chevrolet, 01:16.1255 (111.132)
16. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:15.5731 (111.945)


17. (77) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 01:16.1390 (111.113)
18. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:15.6121 (111.887)

ROW 10

19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 01:16.3068 (110.868)
20. (45) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:16.8347 (110.107)

ROW 11

21. (29) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 01:16.3374 (110.824)
22. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 01:17.5499 (109.091)

ROW 12

23. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:16.4265 (110.695)
24. (11) Tatiana Calderon, Chevrolet, 01:18.3657 (107.955)

ROW 13

25. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
26. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 01:18.6291 (107.594)

After Will Power extension, Marcus Ericsson among IndyCar drivers awaiting new deals

IndyCar free agents
Chris Owens, Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment

FORT WORTH, Texas – Defending series champion Will Power’s name is off the board of potential IndyCar free agents, but there’s still much to be settled in the field – starting with the reigning Indy 500 winner.

Marcus Ericsson is waiting on a contract offer to remain with Chip Ganassi Racing beyond the 2023 season (his fourth with the team). The Swede said he’s made it clear to car owner Chip Ganassi that he wants to stay in the No. 8 Dallara-Honda, which has four victories since June 2021.

“Yeah, it’s up to him, basically,” Ericsson said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “He needs to give me an offer for ’24 onward. The ball is in his corner. I really enjoy it at Ganassi, and we’ve done a lot of great things together and would love to continue, but the ball is in his corner. He knows very well what I want.”

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Two days before Ericsson won the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg season opener March 5, Ganassi sang the praises of the emerging star driver to a small group of reporters.

“I want him here beyond this year,” Ganassi said of Ericsson. “He seems to have gotten more out of winning the Indy 500 than anyone else has of recent time, which is a good thing. He did a good job. He’s been everywhere. It’s been a really positive thing for Marcus, the team, the series. He’s grown with that as well.”

Ericsson didn’t sew up his current deal until late in his breakthrough 2021 season (after a memorable victory in the inaugural Music City Grand Prix). So he isn’t necessarily anxious about it but conceded he “was thinking a bit about it over the winner in the offseason and talking about it

“But now that the season has started, I told my managers and everyone I want to focus on the driving. They focus on those things. Now the season is on, and I want to try to win races, win another 500 and championship. That’s where my focus is. (A new contract) is one of those things that happens when it happens. But I’m happy where I am, and I want to do well.”

IndyCar’s two best teams, Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing, tend to be very tight-lipped about their drivers’ contract status.

Power confirmed Friday to journalist Bruce Martin that his new deal was for multiple seasons. That means all three of Penske’s drivers are in multiple-year contracts (unlike Power’s deal, Scott McLaughlin’s extension was announced by the team last year).

But there is more uncertainty at Ganassi’s four cars aside from Ericsson. While Scott Dixon has a ride for as long as he wants (and the six-time champion has given no indication of retiring), Ganassi’s other two other seats have yet to be solidified beyond 2023.

The No. 11 is being split this year by rookie Marcus Armstrong and veteran Takuma Sato this season. In  the No. 10, Alex Palou is believed to be in his final year at Ganassi before heading to Arrow McLaren.

That expected move would cast doubt on the future of Felix Rosenqvist, who returned to Arrow McLaren when the team was unable to bring in Palou (who was embroiled in a contract dispute with Ganassi).

Aside from Penske, virtually every other IndyCar team (including Andretti Autosport, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Meyer Shank Racing, which has Helio Castroneves in a contract year) has seats that potentially could open for next season, and even drivers who appear to be under contract for next year still could be on the move (via buyouts and option years).

Though Juncos Hollinger Racing announced a “long-term, multiyear contract partnership” last July with Callum Ilott, but the second-year driver was cagey Friday when asked about how long the extension ran.

“It’s for whatever I want it to be,” said Ilott, who finished a career-best fifth at St. Petersburg. “I’ll say that.”

Before returning to JHR, Ilott turned enough heads as a rookie to draw interest from several teams, and he indicated Friday that he still would be listening.

“I’d love to talk to some other big teams,” Ilott said. “Nothing stops me from talking. Look, you’ve got to be fair. I agreed to (the deal), but it’s pretty obvious that I’m quite interested as people are interested in me as a driver, but I need to focus on the job I’ve got here.

“I’m confident whether it’s in one year, two years, three years, four years, that if I’m wanted now, I’ll always be wanted. I’m a good enough driver that I don’t need to lack confidence in that side. … I’m not worried.”