Newgarden On Pole For Rev Group Grand Prix At Road America

Josef Newgarden speeds through turn five at Road America. [John Wiedemann photo]

Josef Newgarden speeds through turn five at Road America. [John Wiedemann photo]

by Paul Gohde

Qualifying is an important time for teams in all forms of motorsports, but NTT IndyCar teams are among those that would likely admit there are so many variables in these type of races, that race strategy is often born during qualifying for most of them.

And those race plans, that include the number of pit stops, car set ups and tire choice, can make or break a team’s success in race day competition.

With that in mind, Rev Group Grand Prix pole winner Josef Newgarden and his front row mate Colton Herta are both concerned with tire degradation above any other issue.

“Degradation is high this weekend. It’s hard to conjure up a consistent car and keep in front with the wear factor,” the Team Penske driver admitted. “We had a good car last week (in Detroit) and didn’t close the deal. We’ll work on that in final practice. It’s hard to get everything to line up in IndyCar racing. We’ve been in the hunt every weekend and had the right strategy, but we’ve gotta get a win.”

Herta, the Andretti Autosport driver who will start next to Newgarden at Road America agrees on the issue of set up, but especially tire selection. “It’s a difficult decision with tires. This will be a tire race for sure, especially on the ‘reds’ (compound). Some will choose three stops and some four”, predicted Herta. But he thought that Saturday’s final practice might also be critical. “Warmups will be important, but then again they are at four-o’clock and the race is at noon tomorrow. So,we’ll see.”

Jack Harvey, showing surprising speed in his Meyer Shank Racing Honda will start third next to Penske’s Will Power with Alex Palou and Simon Pagenaud just behind.

Herta might have summed up best the struggle that teams will have to deal with when the green flag flies on Sunday: “When you make changes in set up you can make things worse.”

They’ll find out tomorrow.

Notes: F1 veteran Romain Grosjean will start seventh Sunday while former F1 teammate Kevin Magnussen will line up 21st…NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, steadily learning the IndyCar craft, will start 23rd, with the other NASCAR rookie Cody Ware 25…Series point leader Pato O’Ward was eliminated in Round 2 and will start from 10th on the grid…Scott Dixon ran over debris in the carousel during Saturday morning practice. After a hurried repair to the underwing, the crew got him out for one test lap in preparation for qualifying in the afternoon… With tire degradation of prime concern to the IndyCar teams, it was reported that the entire Road America course may be up for repaving in the future, something not attempted since the facility was built in 1955…The two former Haas F1 drivers entered here this weekend were remarkably close in qualifying times in their Grand Prix days. Romain Grosjean scored starting positions slightly better than Kevin Magnussen during their F1 days…Arrow McLaren SP pilot Pato O’Ward is the only driver to have scored two wins (Detroit Race 2 and Texas) in the first half of the NTT IndyCar season. He also captured one of the doubleheader races at RA in 2021…With seven series races remaining after this weekend’s Road America round, four of those venues are permanent road courses, two are temporary street circuits and just one (Gateway) is a true oval …Twenty of the 25 entered drivers have raced at Road America previously. Only Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Scott McLaughlin and Cody Ware are “rookies” here…Graham Rahal failed to transfer out of Group 2 qualifying. Later in the pits there was a visible pool of blood seeping through his driver’s suit after a scab came off of his elbow from an issue at Detroit last weekend.

Support Races:
USF 2000: Race 1- Pole winner Kiko Porto led 11 of 12 laps Saturday to win Race1of the USF 2000 Race To Indy series at Road America. Michael d’Orlando, who started third, led one lap finishing second, just 0.88 sec. behind the winner.

Pro 2000: Race 1-Manuel Sulaiman led all twenty-five laps from his pole position to edge his front-row partner Artem Petrov by 0.50 sec. and capture Race 1 of the Indy Pro 2000 series. A Turn 3 incident early in the race eliminated four of the 12 starters.

REV Group Grand Prix Qualifying Results
ELKHART LAKE, Wis.- Qualifying Saturday for the REV Group Grand Prix NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 4.014-mile Road America, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 1:46.0186 (136.301 mph)
2. (26) Colton Herta, Honda, 1:46.2616 (135.989)
3. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 1:46.7206 (135.404)
4. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 1:46.8237 (135.273)
5. (10) Alex Palou, Honda, 1:46.8633 (135.223)
6. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 1:47.1274 (134.890)
7. (51) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 1:45.9015 (136.451)
8. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 1:45.9514 (136.387)
9. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 1:46.1037 (136.191)
10. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 1:46.1069 (136.187)
11. (14) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 1:46.2225 (136.039)
12. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 1:46.2270 (136.033)
13. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 1:46.3427 (135.885)
14. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 1:46.2779 (135.968)
15. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 1:46.3976 (135.815)
16. (21) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 1:46.2902 (135.952)
17. (3) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 1:46.8624 (135.224)
18. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 1:46.4069 (135.803)
19. (29) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 1:47.0294 (135.013)
20. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 1:46.5130 (135.668)
21. (7) Kevin Magnussen, Chevrolet, 1:47.3776 (134.576)
22. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 1:46.5551 (135.614)
23. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Honda, 1:47.7886 (134.062)
24. (4) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 1:46.9786 (135.077)
25. (52) Cody Ware, Honda, 1:47.7324 (134.132)

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