Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden needed a pole position to keep himself in contention for the IndyCar season finale tomorrow at the Long Beach Grand Prix — and that’s just what he did after an extremely contentious qualifying session.
Group 1 Qualifiers: Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin, Pato O’Ward, Jack Harvey, Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi, Alex Palou, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Marcus Ericsson, Max Chilton, Conor Daly, Jimmie Johnson
Moving Onto Fast 12: Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay
All three of the potential championship contenders were part of that first qualifying group, and both Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward headed on the track ahead of the competition. Palou had a near miss with the Turn 9 barriers while O’Ward dipped quickly into the pits after a short run.
A red flag came out within the last few moments of qualifying after Jack Harvey crashed into the tire barrier and Will Power clipped him, with Newgarden, Palou, and O’Ward all making it through to the Fast 12. Power, too, would be moving through to the Fast 12, but that last-minute crash didn’t bode well for him.
O’Ward, too, clipped the wall and needed to change a toe link before heading out for the Fast 12.
Group 2 Qualifiers: Colton Herta, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist, Romain Grosjean, Ed Jones, Helio Castoneves, Takuma Sato, Rinus Veekay, Charlie Kimball, Oliver Askew, Callum Ilott, Sebasten Bourdais, Dalton Kellett
Moving Onto Fast 12: Felix Rosenqvist, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Romain Grosjean, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones
Despite the fact that the no drivers in group 2 were eligible for the championship, the qualifying session was intense. Colton Herta, pushing hard, scraped the wall twice but still managed to nab the fastest lap for a brief period of time. Soon after, Herta hit the wall too hard and bent his steering, but he still continued to attempt to hit a fast lap. He changed tires and went right back out to try setting a fast lap — but it wasn’t to be. Herta was bumped out by faster drivers.
Fast 12 Qualifiers: Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou, Pato O’Ward, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Felix Rosenqvist, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Romain Grosjean, James Hinchcliffe, Ed Jones
Moving Onto Fast 6: Romain Grosjean, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist
Will Power made it back on track after his crash, having gone through extensive repairs. He later pulled off the side of the track with a broken car with just 30 seconds left in the session. That moment, Palou was knocked out of the Fast 6 and was unable to set a fast lap to pull himself out.
However, several drivers set fastest laps during those final moments despite passing through the local yellow flag. O’Ward’s team petitioned the results, as the No. 5 was knocked out of the Fast 6 as a result. But the stewards didn’t make any changes to the lineup.
Fast 6 Qualifiers: Romain Grosjean, Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, Felix Rosenqvist
Championship contender Josef Newgarden had a true flyer just as the session ended, giving him that crucial point he’d need to chip away at the big gap between himself and the other two contenders, Palou and O’Ward.
- Josef Newgarden
- Scott Dixon
- Helio Castroneves
- Simon Pagenaud
- Felix Rosenqvist
- Romain Grosjean
- James Hinchcliffe
- Pato O’Ward
- Ed Jones
- Alex Palou
- Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Will Power
- Scott McLaughlin
- Colton Herta
- Alexander Rossi
- Takuma Sato
- Marcus Ericsson
- Callum Ilott
- Graham Rahal
- Charlie Kimball
- Conor Daly
- Sebastien Bourdais
- Max Chilton
- Rinus Veekay
- Jack Harvey
- Dalton Kellett
- Jimmie Johnson
- Oliver Askew