Newgarden on race two pole as Saturday heroes flounder - The Race

Newgarden on race two pole as Saturday heroes flounder

Jun 13 2021
By Matt Beer

Josef Newgarden gave Penske its first pole of the 2021 IndyCar season with a commanding lap in qualifying for the second Detroit race.

Newgarden’s 1m14.1094s lap was nearly a second and a half quicker than the Saturday pole time, and three tenths clear of front row partner Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport. Newgarden’s Saturday race had been wrecked by a wheel coming off after his first pitstop.

The end of the pole shootout was stymied by Santino Ferrucci crashing heavily at the final corner while a handful of drivers were still on their last flying laps.

Championship leader Alex Palou showed a big improvement on his Saturday pace to qualify alongside Rinus VeeKay in fourth, with Romain Grosjean continuing his excellent IndyCar qualifying form with fifth place for Dale Coyne Racing.

Reigning champion Scott Dixon looked set for third, but he was one of four drivers whose final laps were invalidated due to the red flag for Ferrucci’s crash. He was classified sixth.

It was a nightmare session for the main protagonists from Saturday’s round.

Race one winner Marcus Ericsson’s Ganassi car ran low on fuel on his final group qualifying lap and he ended up 22nd on the grid, which is still only seven places lower than where he qualified yesterday.

Will Power, the man whose misfortune opened the door for Ericsson’s breakthrough win, starts just two places ahead in 20th, having misjudged his timing at the end of the group session and thought he would be able to get one more flying lap in.

Saturday polesitter Pato O’Ward also failed to reach the ‘Fast 12’ part of qualifying this time, a wild oversteering and wall-banging run in the group segment consigning him to 16th on the grid.

His temporary Arrow McLaren SP team-mate Oliver Askew was unsurprisingly slowest in his group having been parachuted straight into qualifying as stand-in for his 2021 replacement Felix Rosenqvist following the Swede’s violent race one crash.

Askew had to borrow a set of overalls from the team’s Indianapolis 500 extra driver Juan Pablo Montoya and race boots from Palou. He starts 23rd.

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