IndyCar Sonoma: Newgarden leads Penske top four lockout for decider

Josef Newgarden claimed his second career pole position in the final round of the IndyCar season at Sonoma, in doing so claiming a valuable point towards the championship

IndyCar Sonoma: Newgarden leads Penske top four lockout for decider

The Penske driver's time of 1m15.520s was a new lap record in a session in which the previous benchmark tumbled multiple times.

Newgarden was 0.035s quicker than team-mate and championship rival Will Power who will line up second for tomorrow's title decider.

Newgarden topped the opening session, but it looked like he could have missed out on the final 'fast six' pole position shootout until a late lap on fresh tyres mean that he advanced from the second part of qualifying.

That meant that his laps in the final part of the session would have to be completed on used tyres, while his rivals would have fresh rubber.

That didn't halt the American, who went on to beat the previous IndyCar qualifying record at Sonoma by more than seven tenths of a second.

Simon Pagenaud, the previous holder of the lap record, and Helio Castroneves wrapped up the second row of the grid, making it a top four lockout for Penske in a qualifying session in which the team topped every segment.

Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato was the only driver out of championship contention in the top six. His fifth place bumped second-in-points Scott Dixon to sixth.

Dixon struggled with the handling of his Ganassi Dallara Honda throughout qualifying. The four-time champion posted late times in the first two parts of qualifying that allowed him to advance and continue his run of making every 'fast six' this season.

Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi, along with Graham Rahal were the three drivers who threatened Dixon's position late on in the second session.

The Honda-powered trio took seventh, eighth, and ninth on the grid, with Sebastien Bourdais completing the top 10.

Marco Andretti was eleventh fastest, despite topping the times midway through the second session. He beat Tony Kanaan who, like Ganassi team-mate Dixon, struggled for pace.

Ed Jones, who was recently awarded rookie of the year honours will line up 18th on the grid for his first IndyCar race at Sonoma. He was also the top rookie in the field, beating Jack Harvey in 19th, and Zachary Claman De Melo who is making his IndyCar bow this weekend.

Starting grid

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m15.5205s -
2 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m15.5556s 0.0351s
3 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m15.6356s 0.1151s
4 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m15.8032s 0.2827s
5 Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.2208s 0.7003s
6 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.3978s 0.8773s
7 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.1815s -
8 Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m16.1934s -
9 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m16.1968s -
10 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.5811s -
11 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m16.8221s -
12 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.9718s -
13 Conor Daly AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.1016s -
14 Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m16.7581s -
15 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.1417s -
16 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m16.9539s -
17 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2662s -
18 Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m17.0231s -
19 Jack Harvey Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m17.2722s -
20 J.R. Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.1602s -
21 Zachary Claman Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m17.2814s -
22 Carlos Munoz AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m17.2507s -


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