Newgarden leads Penske trio in IndyCar qualifying at Texas

Tom Errington
Autosport
Newgarden leads Penske 1-2-3 on Texas grid
Newgarden leads Penske 1-2-3 on Texas grid

Reigning IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden led a Penske 1-2-3 in qualifying for the Texas oval race, ahead of team-mates Simon Pagenaud and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power.

Newgarden's leading two-lap average speed of 220.613mph was set when he hit the track as the 18th car of the 22 qualifiers, run one at a time in reverse championship order.

His speed was unchallenged by his IndyCar rivals until Power took to the track as the final qualifier and registered a lap of 220.198mph.

Power's second lap speed of 220.478mph meant he fell short and finished third with an average of 220.198mph that put him behind Pagenaud.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens was fourth, the highest Honda-powered qualifier.

Dale Coyne Racing's Sebastien Bourdais has mproved on ovals in 2018, taking pole for Phoenix this year.

The Frenchman was fifth and noticeably used all the track to set his average, coming close to the outside wall on his first lap.

Tony Kanaan had set the pace in the earlier practice sessions and the AJ Foyt Racing driver continued to impress by taking sixth.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon was seventh ahead of the leading Andretti-run car of Alexander Rossi - who improved on his second lap by over 1mph to register an average of 218.894mph.

Team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay had a similar run, improving by a similar margin, to average 218.553mph to go ninth behind Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Takuma Sato.

Sato took the shortest track length option in his run for a neat and precise two laps.

Charlie Kimball had led the session until Kanaan hit the track as the ninth runner and ended up an impressive 12th place for Carlin thanks to a 218.145mph average.

Ganassi's Ed Jones was 13th ahead of 2018 Indy 500 pole-winner Ed Carpenter.

James Hinchcliffe continued to struggle following his bumping from the Indy 500 and ran a significantly lowered downforce set-up in the hopes that more drag would cover a slow SPM-run car, but could only qualify 15th.

Graham Rahal also struggled compared to his team-mate, qualifying 11 places behind Sato in 20th ahead of DCR's Zachary Claman de Melo and Carlin's Max Chilton, hours after the RLLR driver signed a new five-year contract with his outfit.

Qualifying result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Speed

1

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

220.613

2

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

220.311

3

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

220.194

4

Robert Wickens

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

219.561

5

Sebastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

219.302

6

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

219.157

7

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

219.112

8

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

218.894

9

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

218.578

10

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

218.553

11

Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta

Dallara/Honda

218.430

12

Charlie Kimball

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

218.145

13

Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

218.120

14

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

218.057

15

James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Dallara/Honda

217.590

16

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

217.473

17

Gabby Chaves

Harding Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

217.149

18

Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

216.895

19

Matheus Leist

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

216.607

20

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

216.092

21

Zachary Claman

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

215.813

22

Max Chilton

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

214.275


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