Milwaukee IndyCar: CFH's Josef Newgarden takes first pole

Josef Newgarden claimed the first pole position of his IndyCar career by topping a tricky qualifying session at Milwaukee

Milwaukee IndyCar: CFH's Josef Newgarden takes first pole

The CFH driver drew the 15th qualifying slot and reeled off a two-lap average of 170.223mph to move into first place, beating the provisional benchmark set just a moment earlier by Ganassi's Tony Kanaan.

With an average speed more than 0.5mph quicker than the Brazilian's, Newgarden's time was always going to offer a challenge to the drivers still yet to complete their runs, and indeed only Schmidt's Ryan Briscoe managed to join him in averaging over 170mph.

"It's great," said Newgarden, who also headed both of the weekend's practice sessions.

"We've never got a pole before so I'm just happy for the crew.

"And it's cool to do it on an oval, as well, because most of our success has been on road and street courses.

"Now hopefully we can finish it off [in the race]."

Briscoe was equally happy with his spot on the outside of the front row, which came after he leaned heavily on the set-up used earlier in the day by team-mate James Jakes.

"It's awesome," said the Australian. "I think we were P20 this morning, so it's definitely an improvement."

Sage Karam popped up in third with the final run of the session to book himself a starting spot alongside team-mate Kanaan, leaving Jakes and Graham Rahal to line up on the third row.

"It's a good start for us," Rahal said. "We'd like to be a little higher up; we've got a better car than that, but if you go a little skimpy on downforce that's what happens.

"The track heated up, and that caught us out a bit."

Rahal's was a common refrain: the temperature and wind were both different to the conditions that the drivers had faced in practice a couple of hours earlier, and the change made for a lot of missed set-ups.

Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya will be the highest-starting Penske driver despite only qualifying eighth, while Newgarden's team-mate and boss Ed Carpenter will be all the way back in 22nd.

But if most of the disappointed drivers were complaining about handling, Helio Castroneves was undone by time management.

His Penske crew were late in getting his car to the tech inspection line, so in accordance with series rules he was denied the opportunity to make his run and will start from last place.

"Unfortunately there is a time [to get the car to the tech inspection line] and our boys were 10 minutes late," he said.

"Last race, the #7 [Jakes] had a similar situation and the same thing happened, so I guess IndyCar is being consistent with the rule.

"It's frustrating, because the car is great. Now we've got to prove it and show in the race that we can come from the back."

STARTING GRID:

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Josef Newgarden CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
2 Ryan Briscoe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
3 Sage Karam Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
4 Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
5 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda
6 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda
7 Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
8 Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
9 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
10 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
11 Sebastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
12 Gabby Chaves Bryan Herta Autosport Dallara/Honda
13 Takuma Sato AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda
14 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
15 Justin Wilson Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
16 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
17 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet
18 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda
19 Stefano Coletti KV Racing Technology Dallara/Chevrolet
20 Tristan Vautier Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda
21 Jack Hawksworth AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Honda
22 Ed Carpenter CFH Racing Dallara/Chevrolet
23 Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda
24 Helio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet

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