March 31, 2012 – Rookie Josef Newgarden will battle his way to the front of Sunday's 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from the 15th starting position after he turned a lap of 1 minute, 10.6851 seconds at 117.139 mph in qualifying Saturday.
After a strong day of practice on Friday in which he finished fourth in the overall combined speed chart for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Newgarden’s speed in his No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car fell short in qualifications on Saturday.
“The car was great and it drives really well, it was just my fault for not getting more out of it,” Newgarden said. “The field is so tight, we really only needed a couple of tenths.”
Newgarden is confident in his team’s ability to field him with a car that can move up in the field on race day.
“I don’t think we’re going to change too much for the race,” Newgarden said. “We’re in a good spot with the car.”
Helio Castroneves qualified on pole position with a lap speed of 1 minute, 10.4768 seconds. Castroneves won the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park.
James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Mike Conway and JR Hildebrand claimed the remaining top five qualifying positions. The 2011 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner, Will Power, will start the race from ninth position.