Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in the No.2 Hitachi Chevrolet will have at least one extra set of the Firestone Alternate red tires for Sunday”s REV Group Grand Prix of Road America after he, his race engineer Gavin Ward and strategist Tim Cindric played a masterstroke in qualifying putting Newgarden on the black primary tires with the Tennessee native setting a time of 01:46.0186s with Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta rolling off from second with a time of 01:46.0186.
In a q&a following the session, Newgarden was asked:
WHAT DID YOU AND YOUR TEAM KNOW THAT OTHERS DIDN’T KNOW TO GO OUT ON PRIMARY BLACK TIRES?
“We knew it this morning that this was what we were going to do. I didn’t know where everyone else was at, but I knew this was my plan this morning and everyone was onboard with it. Gavin was inline, and Tim was as well. Just happy it worked out. I’m a little surprised more didn’t do that. The degradation has been the talk of the weekend. The tires are wearing out. So we needed to mix it up I think. It was going to be hard to make used tires work. It was a huge drop off on second runs. Doesn’t matter what tires you are using. I was really happy with that. Car has been phenomenal. Gavin did a great job. Boys did a great job. Super happy for Hitachi. Second pole in a row. We’ve got to get them a win though. But this is a great day. Team Chevy has done such a good job for us, I would like to get them a win. Obviously we were good last weekend, we just didn’t close the deal. So we are going to work on that tonight and hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow.”
DID YOU AND TIME TALK ABOUT LAST WEEK. OBVIOUSLY THAT IS HIS DEPARTMENT?
“I back our decisions every time. I’m always pleased with what we do. I think I have the best of best as far as what we are doing strategy-wise. Tim is aces and I have a great crew behind me. I never question it. It didn’t work out. People have been asking me constantly what do we need to do. Do we need to change our approach? I’m going to maintain that we are doing just fine. We’ve had speed all year. It hasn’t worked out 100% on some of these weekends, and that is INDYCAR racing. It’s very difficult to get every thing to line up. But that’s what makes the series so exciting. But it can be a little infuriating because every thing has to go perfect for you. I think we are doing the right thing. We will try and conjure up the right plan for tomorrow. I think we keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOU AND THIS PLACE? THIS IS YOUR THIRD POLE HERE.
“I definitely love Road America. This is one of the best tracks in the world.
Not just North America. As far as racing a car, you can’t beat this place. The crowd is always big here. I just think the support for INDYCAR racing is massive in this part of the country. This is one of my favorite tracks. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. This is one of the best places to drive and INDYCAR
It was a great session for Meyer Shank Racing’s Jack Harvey who starts the race from third place in the No.60 AutoNation Sirius XM Honda with a time of 01:46.7206s just ahead of Will Power in the No.12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet for Team Penske with a 01:46.8237s while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda starts the race from fifth place with a 01:46.8237s.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Menards Chevrolet for Team Penske rounded out the Fast Six with a time of 01:47.1274s. Romain Grosjean in the No.51 Nurtec Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing starts the race from seventh place with a time of 01:45.9015s starting the race just ahead of Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Honda who set a time of 01:45.9514s ending the day just ahead of his Andretti Autosport team mate Alexander Rossi who set a time of 01:46.1037s while championship leader Pato O’Ward rounds out the top ten for Arrow McLaren SP.
It was a great session for AJ Foyt Racing and Sebastien Bourdais as the Frenchman made it into the Firestone Fast 12 and will start Sunday’s race from eleventh with a time of 01:46.2225s.
Ed Jones starts the race from 12th just ahead of Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda who set a time of 01:46.3427s and starts the race just ahead of Graham Rahal in the No.15 HyVee Honda who set a time of 01:46.2779s and starts the race just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Conor Daly who set a time of 01:46.3976s while super-sub, Oliver Askew starts the race from 16th just ahead of Scott McLaughlin and Marcus Ericsson.
Andretti Autosport’s James Hinchcliffe in the No.29 Genesys Honda starts the race from 19th just ahead of Takuma Sato and rookie Kevin Magnussen who did a great job to outqualify series regular Max Chilton and Jimmie Johnson. Dalton Kellett and Cody Ware round out the order.