DATE: March 31, 2012
EVENT: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
SERIES: IZOD IndyCar Series
LOCATION: Barber Motorsports Park (2.38-mile, 17-turn road circuit)
NEWGARDEN: 15th (1:10.6851 at 117.139 mph)
POLE WINNER: Helio Castroneves of Team Penske (1:10.4768 at 117.485 mph)
LEEDS, Ala., March 31, 2012 – Rookie Josef Newgarden will battle his way to the front of Sunday’s 2012 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from the 15th starting position after he turned a lap of 1 minute, 10.6851 seconds at 117.139 mph in qualifying Saturday.
After a strong day of practice on Friday in which he finished fourth in the overall combined speed chart for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Newgarden’s speed in his No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone car fell short in qualifications on Saturday.
“The car was great and it drives really well, it was just my fault for not getting more out of it,” Newgarden said. “The field is so tight, we really only needed a couple of tenths.”
Newgarden is confident in his team’s ability to field him with a car that can move up in the field on race day.
“I don’t think we’re going to change too much for the race,” Newgarden said. “We’re in a good spot with the car.”
Helio Castroneves qualified on pole position with a lap speed of 1 minute, 10.4768 seconds. Castroneves won the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park.
James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Mike Conway and JR Hildebrand claimed the remaining top five qualifying positions. The 2011 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama winner, Will Power, will start the race from ninth position.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will air live on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) beginning at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, April 1.
•Newgarden will appear on an episode of the TV show “Day Jobs” with country musician Hunter Hays on Wednesday, April 19th at 10 p.m. ET. “Day Jobs” airs on the Great American Country (GAC) network, and follows country artists as they step back into the jobs they had before they made it big in the music industry. Newgarden spent time with singer Hunter Hays at the IZOD IndyCar test in Sebring, Fla. in early March.
• In 2011 Newgarden competed in the Firestone Indy Lights race at Barber Motorsports Park and finished sixth. Newgarden went on to win the 2011 Firestone Indy Lights championship.
• Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s only other appearance at Barber Motorsports Park was in 2010, when driver Graham Rahal finished 17th.