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IndyCar Indy 500

Newgarden admits Penske “fell short” in Indy 500 qualifying

Josef Newgarden says there is “no hiding” the fact that Team Penske “fell short” in qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Only Team Penske’s Will Power made it through to Sunday’s Fast 12, with a chance of taking pole position for the 107th running of America’s premier open-wheel race, after the opening day of qualifying runs no Saturday.

Power reported that his car was at the peak of its potential after making aerodynamic and gearing changes for his final run and setting virtually the same time.

Newgarden even deleted his previous time in a bold bid on Saturday evening to make the Fast 12 field, risking his spot on next weekend’s starting grid, but could only manage the 17th fastest four-lap run. Team-mate Scott McLaughlin will start 14th.

It meant Penske slipped to being the fourth-fastest Chevrolet-powered team, behind Arrow McLaren, Ed Carpenter Racing and AJ Foyt Racing.

“We fell short,” Newgarden admitted. “There's no hiding it. We did not do a good enough job.

“I can't speak highly enough about Chevrolet. I think they've been tremendous this whole season, particularly tremendous today. You can see that by evidence of everybody that was up there. We weren't missing anything from that side. They've been a great partner for us.

“We seem to be able to figure out most situations, but for whatever reason this cruel mistress, she's just tricking us. I don't understand how so. I think all of us don't fully understand it.”

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet crew

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet crew

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

When asked if he thought McLaren was now the dominant Chevy team, he replied: “I think there's no doubt that they've done a tremendous job. They've just excelled.

“We don't have an ego about it. We have to work hard, come back, do a better job.

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“You don't stop working. I think for us, we've just got to continue to put in the work and not have an ego about it. We weren't good enough, let's figure out why.

“Indy is not easy. This is not an easy place to just succeed. I don't care how many Indy 500s you have, what team you are, there are no guarantees when you show up here.”

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