DETROIT (Sunday, June 2, 2019) – Josef Newgarden continued his assault on the Raceway at Belle Isle Park on Sunday morning, capturing the NTT P1 Award pole position for the second race of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear a day after winning the first race.
Driving the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden put in a lap of 1 minute, 14.8607 seconds (113.010 mph) on the 14-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street course to earn the seventh pole position of his NTT IndyCar Series career and first this season.
CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX: Race 2 qualifying results
“It was a good lap,” Newgarden said of his pole-winning lap once he put on a set of Firestone alternate tires near the end of the 12-minute group session. “I got (the pole) on the first (lap). I could tell the (tire) temperatures were coming up quicker than yesterday. Normally, second lap (is quicker). I could see the grip was already there, so I had to go.
“Must have gotten lucky. I guess it worked out.”
Newgarden led the final 25 laps in Saturday’s timed race to win and take the championship lead over teammate Simon Pagenaud. With the bonus point awarded for the pole position Sunday, Newgarden has a 26-point advantage heading into Sunday afternoon’s 70-lap race (3 p.m. ET, NBC and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network).
The 22-car field was split into two groups for qualifying. Alexander Rossi, the pole winner on Saturday who finished second to Newgarden in the race, was quick in the first qualifying group Sunday with a lap of 1:15.1825 (112.526 mph) in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda. The Andretti Autosport driver also earned a point for leading his group and will start alongside Newgarden in Row 1 for Sunday’s race.
“It was out of our control with us being in Group 1 going for pole,” said Rossi, third in the standings after seven races, 33 points behind Newgarden. “I wasn’t expecting it to hold up, but we did the best run that we could. Group 2 is always quicker here. We’ll take that championship point, move on and try to do one better in the race today.”
Group 2 qualifying on Sunday was delayed 46 minutes when water from overnight rain that had collected in tarps covering the Turn 6 tire barrier began leaking onto the track surface. Once qualifying resumed, Newgarden set the pole-winning pace. Andretti Autosport’s Zach Veach was impressive in his qualifying effort, running second fastest in Group 2 (1:15.2625, 112.407 mph) to lock down a career-best starting position of third in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda.
Series rookie Colton Herta was second fastest in Group 1 to equal his best starting position of fourth in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing (1:15.6478, 111.834 mph).
Pagenaud, winner of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on May 26, qualified 14th in the No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet. Graham Rahal, who in 2017 became the only driver to win both Detroit races in the same year, suffered gearbox issues in qualifying and will start 22nd.
CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX RACE 2 QUALIFYING QUOTES:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, NTT P1 Award winner):“It was a good lap. I got (the pole) on the first (lap). I could tell the temperatures were coming up quicker than yesterday. Normally, second lap (is quicker). I could see the grip was already there, so I had to go. The second lap was done; the tires were already burned off. I tried to maximize that first one. Pretty good lap. Must have gotten lucky. I guess it worked out.” … “Team Chevy has done a great job, like I’ve said all weekend. Great to have Hitachi here this weekend. Team Penske overall, putting on this event and having all the people out, it’s good to have a solid weekend here.” … “I guess it’s good to be lucky; better to be lucky than good. These guys have done a great job. Team Chevy has really brought it this weekend. They’ve worked really hard and circled this place on the calendar. We had a good car here. All our boys, they’ve worked extremely hard at the shop. We knew we needed to be better on street courses and you can see (the improvement). It’s fast, really fast, and we’ve executed well. We got the tires (up to temperature) when we need them to. I’m pleased as punch at the moment. We’ve just got to try to finish off the second race. I think it’s going to be physical today, really hard to get through it, so we’ve got to focus on (finishing) off the weekend.” … “The (Firestone alternate) reds are fast but they tend to go off. That’s always the case with them but it seems to be more extreme this weekend. But Firestone does that for a reason. They want us to have a strong performance tire that doesn’t last very long to give you that contrast with the primary tire, so you can try to make the most of it. It also mixes up the strategy. I think you’re going to see a lot (of mixed strategies) today. People are going to struggle with long distances on the reds and that’s going to make things dicey for a little bit of the race.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA, qualified second): “It was out of our control with us being in Group 1 going for pole. I wasn’t expecting it to hold up, but we did the best run that we could. Group 2 is always quicker here. We’ll take that championship point, move on and try to do one better in the race today.” … “Pole here is in Group 2, so we knew it was going to happen, but we’re on the front row so that’s a positive.” … “I think the black (Firestone primary tires) did a very good job in the race. I think the red (alternate tires) are still a mystery for us at this point. Everyone is going to learn and experiment in the race.” … “I think we had the advantage yesterday in the wet, just got unlucky with the yellows that fell. I think we have the car to beat again and we’ll try to get to the point early on and then bring it home from there.” … “The strategy will be very different, obviously, today. You weren’t worried with tire life in the rain, just fuel. Today, we have to see how the red (alternate tires) and the black (primary tires) fare. There will be a huge tire wear factor today and we won’t really know until we get out there this afternoon and race.”