Newgarden not expecting new car to alter qualifying tactics

Team Penske’s reigning champion Josef Newgarden said there will still be tracks where you can squeeze more than one hot qualifying run from the alternate compound, despite higher tire degradation.

Newgarden, who clocked his first pole for Penske in last year’s season finale at Sonoma, said the nature of the track will still be the deciding factor in how many hot laps you can squeeze out of a set of the red-sidewalled tires.

“For me it's track to track, I think we'd all agree on that,” he told Motorsport.com. “If you're talking Barber or Sonoma, yeah, it's one lap pretty much. But I think around St. Pete here, actually the quick lap was the third lap. I don't think that will change dramatically.

“There are tracks where it's one lap, you have to nail it. At Sonoma, you'll probably see a little bit more deg towards the end of that first lap than you did last year. The tires seem to go off pretty quick at Sonoma. You will be working towards sort of those difficulties.
“But I don't think it's going to be a huge shift where it's one lap at St. Pete. I think you'll have a couple of buildup laps to the peak performance of the tires.”

Qualifying for the opening race of the year at GP St. Petersburg, starts tomorrow at 2.20pm ET. 

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