Josef Newgarden, fastest on the combined practice results heading into knockout qualifying at Road America, found the top of the Firestone Fast 6 running order to earn the pole for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix.

Round 1 Group 1

Comprised of 11 cars, Group 1 took to the track with eight drivers on primary tires and three — Zachary Claman De Melo, Charlie Kimball and Zach Veach — utilizing red-sidewalled alternate tires.

At the halfway point of the 12-minute session and prior to switching to alternate rubber, Alexander Rossi topped the timesheet with a 1:43.8746. Later, both Ed Jones and Veach took turns on top.

Alexander Rossi speeds around Road America in IndyCar qualifying
As knockout qualifying got underway at Road America, Alexander Rossi showed the strength of his No. 27 NAPA Honda. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

Rossi reasserted himself and with 30 seconds to go, his 1:43.0740 was the fastest of the group. Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Veach joined Rossi in advancing to Round 2 along with Will Power, Jones and Sebastien Bourdais.

Jordan King, Marco Andretti, Zachary Claman De Melo, Charlie Kimball and Alfonso Celis Jr. placed seventh through 11th in Group 1 and did not move out of Round 1.

Round 1 Group 2

The 12 drivers in Group 2 contributed 12 minutes of high-speed action with only Carlin’s Max Chilton venturing out on the 4.014-mile circuit with alternate tires.

Six minutes into the group’s running, Graham Rahal’s 1:44.0411 topped the leaderboard while his No. 15 Honda was still fitted with primary tires. Just before the checkered flag, Newgarden laid down a 1:43.0010 to take over the top spot.

When all laps were complete, a 1:42.9097 lap from Robert Wickens stood as the fastest of Round 1 and allowed the rookie to advance to the second round alongside Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Rahal, Takuma Sato and Spencer Pigot.

Simon Pagenaud, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Matheus Leist, Chilton and Gabby Chaves missed the cutoff to advance to the second round.

Round 2

All cars began Round 2 on primary tires with Newgarden turning the first timed lap. Pigot was the next to spend time atop the timesheet before giving way to Bourdais.

Halfway through the 12-minute session, Rahal occupied the top spot with a 1:43.8313. After all cars switched to alternate tires, Rahal stayed in the first position with a 1:43.2667 before being displaced by Rossi.

Scott Dixon qualifies for 2018 KOHLER Grand Prix
Scott Dixon failed to earn a spot in the Firestone Fast 6 for the third time of 2018 during qualifying at Road America in June 2018. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

Rossi’s 1:42.7998 shifted him to the top of the Round 2 running order as he went quicker than Newgarden by just over one-tenth of a second. Joining the two drivers in advancing to the Firestone Fast 6 were Hunter-Reay, Bourdais, Wickens and Power.

Sato missed the cutoff by 0.0363 seconds but was quicker than defending race winner Dixon, who was eighth fastest in Round 2 and will start from that position on Sunday. Rahal, Pigot, Veach and Jones qualified to the ninth through 12th positions on the grid, respectively, after also failing to advance to the final qualifying round.

Firestone Fast 6

Through the first six minutes of the third qualifying round, Bourdais was the only driver to turn laps, topping out with a 1:43.7332 that ultimately placed him sixth in the six-car group.

Through the end of the eight-minute session, Rossi, Power and Newgarden all took turns at the top.

It was Newgarden’s 1:43.2026 that surfaced as the fastest lap, earning the driver his third pole of the year and the fifth of his career. His previous best start at Road America was third from last year.

With Power’s best lap just 0.0482 seconds slower than Newgarden’s, Team Penske locked out the front row for the 10th round of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. It marked the sixth time Power has qualified to the frontmost row in 2018.

Hunter-Reay and teammate Rossi qualified to Row 2 while Wickens and Bourdais will start from the third row.

With no warm-up session on the schedule, the next time cars will be on track at Road America will be the race itself, with engines scheduled to be started at 12:05 p.m. CDT and the green flag expected seven minutes later. The race will be telecast on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here