Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener at Texas as Sato crashes

Josh Suttill
·3 min read
Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener as Sato crashes
Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener as Sato crashes

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden has claimed pole position for the first race of the delayed 2020 season at Texas Motor Speedway.

After the COVID-19 pandemic postponements to the new IndyCar campaign, action belatedly begins in Texas this weekend with Team Penske's Newgarden edging five-time champion Scott Dixon with his two-lap average speed of 215.740mph.

Newgarden, winner of last year's race, was the final driver to have his qualifying run and he was able to displace practice pace-setter Dixon by just 0.102mph who had held provisional pole.

Newgarden's Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud completes the top three ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who bounced back from an off in practice earlier on Saturday.

Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport team-mate Zach Veach has qualified in an excellent fifth position ahead of Will Power, who made it three Penske cars in the top six.

Graham Rahal has qualified seventh ahead of Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist and AJ Foyt Racing's Tony Kannan, who is starting his final season in IndyCar.

Arrow McLaren SP's Pato O'Ward was third quickest in practice but qualified down in 18th position, with his team-mate Oliver Askew qualifying in 20th place for his IndyCar debut.

Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener as Sato crashes
Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener as Sato crashes

Takuma Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner who took pole position for last year's race at Texas, crashed out on the start of his first qualifying lap and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team faces a race against time to repair his damaged car before tonight's race.

IndyCar debutant Rinus Veekay was another driver to fall foul of the condensed one-day format as a practice crash left him unable to set a qualifying time.

Santino Ferrucci elected to skip qualifying in order to allow more time to develop his car set-up after a difficult practice session.

On his oval racing debut, Ferrucci's Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Alex Palou qualified in a respectable 16th place.

The 2020 IndyCar opening race takes place later today due to the shortened schedule.

IndyCar - Texas Motor Speedway - Qualifying Results

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Speed

1

Josef Newgarden

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

215.740

2

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

215.638

3

Simon Pagenaud

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

215.464

4

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

214.311

5

Zach Veach

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

213.981

6

Will Power

Team Penske

Dallara/Chevrolet

213.930

7

Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

213.878

8

Alexander Rossi

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

213.689

9

Felix Rosenqvist

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

213.560

10

Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

213.388

11

Marco Andretti

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

213.190

12

Charlie Kimball

AJ Foyt Enterprises

Dallara/Chevrolet

212.780

13

Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

212.714

14

Colton Herta

Andretti Harding

Dallara/Honda

212.697

15

James Hinchcliffe

Andretti Autosport

Dallara/Honda

212.603

16

Alex Palou

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

212.504

17

Marcus Ericsson

Chip Ganassi Racing

Dallara/Honda

212.040

18

Patricio O'Ward

McLaren SP

Dallara/Chevrolet

212.013

19

Conor Daly

Carlin

Dallara/Chevrolet

211.425

20

Oliver Askew

McLaren SP

Dallara/Chevrolet

210.839

21

Jack Harvey

Meyer Shank Racing

Dallara/Honda

205.647

22

Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Lanigan

Dallara/Honda

0.000

23

Rinus Van Kalmthout

Ed Carpenter Racing

Dallara/Chevrolet

0.000

24

Santino Ferrucci

Dale Coyne Racing

Dallara/Honda

0.000

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus