Josef Newgarden set out to contend for the coveted pole position on Pole Day for the 97th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, but the cards were not in his favor.
Driving the No. 21 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) Century 21/Dallara/Honda/Firestone car, Newgarden was bumped from the top 24 positions with less than one minute remaining in Segment 1 of qualifying.
“It’s a shame because we have plenty of speed in the Century 21 car, we just got the process wrong today,” Newgarden said.
SFHR hoped Newgarden’s first and only qualifying speed of 225.210 mph would be enough, but James Jakes, driver of the No. 16 car, knocked Newgarden off the bubble, leaving no time for a second qualification attempt.
“Qualifying is important in that it’s a big part of the whole event and obviously we try our best to do well and we’d love to get the pole, but I don’t think it’s in our cards this year to be right up front,” Newgarden said. “What is in the cards for us is to do well in the race and that’s exactly what we’re going to focus on.”
Though Newgarden’s qualification speed fell short of expectations, the Century 21 driver has proven he is fast, turning a lap at 228.609 mph earlier today during practice.
“We were not the fast guy out there and we lost a lot of speed from practice,” he said. “I don’t know where the speed went, but qualifying is not the most important thing at this track when you think about the race next Sunday.”
The second year driver will work to claim his spot in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 field during Bump Day on Sunday, May 19, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Network will air live coverage starting at 12 p.m. ET. For the latest updates from the Century 21 car follow @SFHRindy on Twitter.