MADISON, Ill – Josef Newgarden said before qualifying that his car felt a lot like it did balance wise in 2017. He felt confidence like he did that year. Why is that relevant?
Newgarden won the race at the World Wide Technology Raceway in 2017.
This season, he enters Saturday night’s Bommarito Automotive Group 500 (8 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network) as the current NTT IndyCar Series points leader. He earned a pole last weekend at the Pocono Raceway because of that.
This weekend, he will start on the pole due to on track merit.
Newgarden, circled the 1.25-mile with a two-lap average of 186.508 mph in his No. 2 Chevrolet. That was good enough for his third pole of the season and eighth of his Indy Car career. Three of his last four poles though he’s finished outside of the top 10, so he’s got to buck that trend in the 248 Lap race on Saturday night.
Joining Newgarden up front are his three Penske teammates. Will Power (185.896 mph) and Simon Pagenaud (185.143 mph) will share Row 2 as they’ll roll off third and fourth respectively. Power, has four straight top five starting spots on the season while Pagenaud has five straight top four starting spots in his No. 22 Chevrolet.
Breaking up the Penske party up front was Sebastien Bourdais. The Frenchman turned in a two-lap average of 185.927 mph in his No. 18 Honda. Bourdais, has been a great on ovals this season, especially qualifying as he’s started seventh (Indy 500), third (Texas), 21st (Iowa), 11th (Pocono) and now second (Gateway) respectively.
Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Starting Lineup
Row 1: Josef Newgarden, Sebastien Bourdais
Row 2: Will Power, Simon Pagenaud
Row 3: Takuma Sato, Santino Ferrucci R
Row 4: James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon
Row 5: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Felix Rosenqvist R
Row 6: Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta R
Row 7: Spencer Pigot, Marcus Ericsson R
Row 8: Zach Veach, Graham Rahal
Row 9: Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly
Row 10: Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan
Row 11: Matheus Leist, Marco Andretti