What looked like a surprise pole for the small but mighty Dale Coyne Racing team at World Wide Technology Raceway turned into the second NTT P1 Award of 2019 for NTT IndyCar Series championship leader Josef Newgarden, adding one bonus point to his chase for a second title.
Last to qualify due to his position in the points standings, Newgarden turned in a 186.508 mph two-lap average to become the only driver over 186 mph, earning the Tennessee native his eighth career pole position. While he started from pole this year at Pocono Raceway, the grid was set by entrant points, making his most recent true qualifying triumph June’s Race 2 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.
Coyne’s Sebastien Bourdais was 13th in the qualifying order and easily took the provisional pole with a 185.927 mph two-lap average. Bourdais appeared to have a lock on the pole position until Newgarden’s run.
Pocono winner Will Power qualified third ahead of teammate and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud in fourth, placing all three Team Penske drivers in the first two rows of the starting grid. Penske has been victorious at every oval race this season.
Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi, both still in the hunt for the championship with three races remaining, struggled during qualifying. Dixon’s 184.293 mph average ranked him eighth. Rossi was 0.223 mph slower, placing him on the outside of Row 5 for the 248-lap race.
Santino Ferrucci’s qualifying effort reflected his more experienced teammate in both speed and result. At 184.830 mph, Ferrucci’s average ranked him sixth and well ahead of the other rookies after he owned the provisional pole prior to Bourdais’ attempt.
Across the 22-car field, there was a difference of more than 10 mph between the pole winner and the slowest qualifier. Marco Andretti’s 175.192 mph average placed him last on the grid.
Friday night practice under the lights is next at 8:15 p.m. CDT. The 310-mile race follows Saturday at 7:45 p.m. with live coverage on NBCSN.