Josef Newgarden will start the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 eighth on the grid Sunday, May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver turned a four-lap average of 229.893 mph on Sunday afternoon to position the No. 67 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone car in the middle of the third row for the start of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
“We had a great day today,” Newgarden said. “It started off well with just being in the Fast Nine Shootout, which was a big achievement for us from Saturday. We didn’t quite have enough for Pole position but we gave it everything we had, and I’m super proud of everyone at SFHR for doing that. It’s always good to start this race in clean air.”
Alex Tagliani re-qualified the No. 68 SFHR Dallara/Honda/Firestone entry on Sunday morning with a four lap average speed of 229.148 mph and will start 24th in the 500-mile race on the 2.5-mile oval.
“There is some more speed in our car, we know that,” Tagliani said. “But now that qualifying is over, we will switch our gear to race mode and make sure our car is good during the race and in traffic. I want to say thanks to the boys at SFHR. They did a good job finding more speed from yesterday to today. The only thing that matters now is the race and coming up with a good plan for how we can put both of our cars up front.”
Newgarden hit over 230 mph in the first three laps of his four-lap qualifying run, before losing speed in his final lap.
“We really hung it out and gave it everything we had, but it got a little tough in that last lap,” Newgarden said. “I thought I was going to end up in the wall for a minute, but we were able to keep it on track and finish off the four-lap run. That’s how Indy qualifying should be. You should lay it all out there and give it everything you have, and that’s what we did.”
The 33 cars qualified for the Indianapolis 500 field have additional practice time from noon-5 p.m. (ET) on Monday, May 19.
“It’s actually going to be nice because now we get to put downforce back in,” Newgarden said. “It will be good to get back to race conditions where the car is a little more manageable.”
Said Alex Tagliani: “I think it’s important that we have an extra day of practice, especially with the bad weather we’ve had this past week. It will be nice to dedicate our time to race running all day tomorrow.”
Ed Carpenter won the Indianapolis 500 Pole for the second year in a row, turning a four-lap average speed of 231.067 mph. James Hinchcliffe and Will Power will join Carpenter on the front row.
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