DETROIT – 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.