Newgarden earns pole for IndyCar race at Road America

Jun 19, 2021, 1:34 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Josef Newgarden has earned the pole position for Sunday’s IndyCar race at Road America as he attempts to help Team Penske earn its first win of the season.

Newgarden had a fastest lap of 1 minute, 46.0186 seconds on a road course that extends just over 4 miles and features 14 turns. He will be joined on the front row by Colton Herta. Jack Harvey will start third.

Team Penske drivers were three of the top six qualifiers, with Will Power fourth and Simon Pagenaud sixth.

This is the longest that Team Penske has gone without a win to start a season since 1999, and it finished that year winless.

Team Penske has come close several times through the first eight races of the season, but it has been unable to close the deal. That was particularly apparent during last weekend’s doubleheader at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

Power seemed in control of the first race until his car wouldn’t restart after a red flag. Newgarden was edged by Pato O’Ward in the second race.

Newgarden will lead an intriguing field that includes current points leader O’Ward, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR driver Cody Ware and former Formula One teammates Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. This represents the IndyCar debut for both Magnussen and Ware.

Magnussen is a replacement for Felix Rosenqvist, who won at Road America last year but was injured in a crash last week at Detroit. Magnussen and Grosjean drove for Haas on the Formula One circuit in 2020 before both lost their rides at the end of the year.

Magnussen isn’t the only substitute in the field. Oliver Askew is filling in for Rinus VeeKay, who broke his clavicle in a cycling accident Monday.

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Newgarden earns pole for IndyCar race at Road America