Josef Newgarden Takes Pole At IndyCar Season Finale

Newgarden needed that pole position to get closer to the pole.

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Photo: Joe Skibinski \ IndyCar Media

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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2021 IndyCar Grand Prix of Long Beach Qualifying Order

  1. Josef Newgarden
  2. Scott Dixon
  3. Helio Castroneves
  4. Simon Pagenaud
  5. Felix Rosenqvist
  6. Romain Grosjean
  7. James Hinchcliffe
  8. Pato O’Ward
  9. Ed Jones
  10. Alex Palou
  11. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  12. Will Power
  13. Scott McLaughlin
  14. Colton Herta
  15. Alexander Rossi
  16. Takuma Sato
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  18. Callum Ilott
  19. Graham Rahal
  20. Charlie Kimball
  21. Conor Daly
  22. Sebastien Bourdais
  23. Max Chilton
  24. Rinus Veekay
  25. Jack Harvey
  26. Dalton Kellett
  27. Jimmie Johnson
  28. Oliver Askew