Road America IndyCar: Newgarden beats Honda hordes to pole

Despite Honda-powered cars looking strong throughout practice, Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden and Will Power have locked out the front row for tomorrow’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.

Road America IndyCar: Newgarden beats Honda hordes to pole
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet8
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

Newgarden, who swept Friday's practice sessions, but changed gear ratios mid-qualifying session, lapped the 4.014-mile course in 1min43.2026sec to edge Power by 0.0482sec.

That was Newgarden's third pole position of the season, the fifth of his IndyCar career, and the third straight year that Team Penske has earned pole at Road America.

Power's front-row start means he's started in the top three in all but one of the 10 races this year.

Newgarden's pace was enough to beat Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi into third and fourth by 0.18 and 0.23 seconds respectively.

Robert Wickens of Schmidt Peterson Motorsport-Honda, who had topped FP3 this morning, was a slightly deflated fifth, half a second behind Newgarden, while Sebastien Bourdais was sixth for Dale Coyne Racing-Honda.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda will be slightly disappointed that neither of its cars got through to the Fast Six, but they’re in good company as Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal will sandwich points leader Scott Dixon who was eighth for Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda.

Spencer Pigot can be reasonably content with 10th and third fastest Chevrolet runner, on a weekend when the Bowtie’s top-end power couldn’t compensate for the Honda’s low-down torque.

Ed Jones, like teammate Dixon, encountered traffic on his flying lap and will start 12th.

Simon Pagenaud, despite having been the fastest Penske driver on black tires in FP3 this morning, and matching Power’s time from Q1G1, was eliminated from Q1G2 and will roll off 14th after failing to make the cut by 0.003s.

Marco Andretti was the only Andretti Autosport driver to fail to make it through to Q2.

Even more puzzling was the lack of speed from James Hinchcliffe, who was almost a full second slower than SPM teammate Wickens who had topped Q1, with the veteran saying that the ‘red’ alternate tires threw off the #5 car’s handling balance.

Carlin Racing suffered a poor qualifying performance, despite Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball heading out on scrubbed reds, then switching to fresh reds – although they were barely worse than fellow Chevy runners AJ Foyt Racing.

Alfonso Celis was slowest on his IndyCar debut with Juncos Racing, although the quirks of the group system means he will start ahead of both Chilton and Harding Racing-Chevrolet’s Gabby Chaves.

IndyCar 2018, Road America qualifying Firestone Fast Six

ClaDriverLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 1 united_states  Josef Newgarden  2 1'43.2026     140.020
2 12 australia  Will Power  2 1'43.2508 0.0482 0.0482 139.954
3 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  2 1'43.3811 0.1785 0.1303 139.778
4 27 united_states  Alexander Rossi  2 1'43.4361 0.2335 0.0550 139.704
5 6 canada  Robert Wickens  2 1'43.7121 0.5095 0.2760 139.332
6 18 france  Sébastien Bourdais  3 1'43.7332 0.5306 0.0211 139.304

Q2

ClaDriverLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 27 united_states  Alexander Rossi  5 1'42.7998     140.568
2 1 united_states  Josef Newgarden  5 1'42.9296 0.1298 0.1298 140.391
3 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  5 1'42.9860 0.1862 0.0564 140.314
4 18 france  Sébastien Bourdais  5 1'43.0505 0.2507 0.0645 140.226
5 6 canada  Robert Wickens  5 1'43.0737 0.2739 0.0232 140.195
6 12 australia  Will Power  5 1'43.0745 0.2747 0.0008 140.194
7 30 japan  Takuma Sato  5 1'43.1108 0.3110 0.0363 140.144
8 9 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  6 1'43.1769 0.3771 0.0661 140.055
9 15 united_states  Graham Rahal  5 1'43.1874 0.3876 0.0105 140.040
10 21 united_states  Spencer Pigot  5 1'43.1995 0.3997 0.0121 140.024
11 26 united_states  Zach Veach  5 1'43.2265 0.4267 0.0270 139.987
12 10 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  6 1'43.3544 0.5546 0.1279 139.814

Q3 Group 2

ClaDriverLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 6 canada  Robert Wickens  6 1'42.9097     140.418
2 1 united_states  Josef Newgarden  5 1'43.0010 0.0913 0.0913 140.294
3 9 new_zealand  Scott Dixon  6 1'43.0993 0.1896 0.0983 140.160
4 15 united_states  Graham Rahal  5 1'43.2588 0.3491 0.1595 139.944
5 30 japan  Takuma Sato  5 1'43.3077 0.3980 0.0489 139.877
6 21 united_states  Spencer Pigot  5 1'43.4150 0.5053 0.1073 139.732
7 22 france  Simon Pagenaud  5 1'43.4153 0.5056 0.0003 139.732
8 5 canada  James Hinchcliffe  6 1'43.8591 0.9494 0.4438 139.135
9 14 brazil  Tony Kanaan  6 1'44.1165 1.2068 0.2574 138.791
10 4 brazil  Matheus Leist  6 1'44.3438 1.4341 0.2273 138.488
11 59 united_kingdom  Max Chilton  5 1'44.3442 1.4345 0.0004 138.488
12 88 colombia  Gabby Chaves  5 1'44.6258 1.7161 0.2816 138.115

Q3 Group 1

ClaDriverLapsTimeGapIntervalMph
1 27 united_states  Alexander Rossi  6 1'43.0740     140.194
2 28 united_states  Ryan Hunter-Reay  5 1'43.0943 0.0203 0.0203 140.167
3 12 australia  Will Power  5 1'43.4455 0.3715 0.3512 139.691
4 26 united_states  Zach Veach  5 1'43.4578 0.3838 0.0123 139.674
5 10 united_arab_emirates  Ed Jones  6 1'43.6753 0.6013 0.2175 139.381
6 18 france  Sébastien Bourdais  5 1'43.6921 0.6181 0.0168 139.359
7 20 united_kingdom  Jordan King  5 1'43.7356 0.6616 0.0435 139.300
8 98 united_states  Marco Andretti  6 1'43.9843 0.9103 0.2487 138.967
9 19 canada  Zachary Claman De Melo  5 1'44.0189 0.9449 0.0346 138.921
10 23 united_states  Charlie Kimball  6 1'45.1161 2.0421 1.0972 137.471
11 32 mexico  Alfonso Celis Jr.  5 1'45.5584 2.4844 0.4423 136.895
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