Josef Newgarden is a true rookie at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but in qualifying on Saturday for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio he drove like a calm professional. With a clear purpose, he landed the No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) Dallara/Honda/Firestone car in the 10th starting position.
Newgarden was sixth fastest in his group of IZOD IndyCar Series’ knockout-style qualifying, which advanced him to the second round of qualifying.
In round two Newgarden faced off against the 12 fastest cars in the field and ended up 10th with a speed of 122.843 mph.
“It was an okay second session for us,” Newgarden said. “Unfortunately I didn’t really get a great lap in during the second round. I think we did a good job of getting as close as we could to the Firestone Fast Six, but we just needed a little more.”
Newgarden will be the only true rookie starting in Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Mid-Ohio is considered to be SFHR co-owner Sarah Fisher’s home track.
“It’s cool to race here because it’s sort of Sarah’s home track,” Newgarden said. “It’s a little added pressure but I like the challenge.”
Newgarden believes the tightly packed speeds in qualifications will make for a challenging race.
“I think we’re in the hunt for sure but it’s just very tight out there,” he said. “We’ll just get to work on a set-up for the race and see what we can do.”
Weather could also play a role in action during the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio as rain is in the forecast.
“I’ve never raced here before but I’ve heard it’s very difficult in the rain,” Newgarden said. “If it ends up raining that will be a big challenge for me.”
Will Power of Team Penske will start from the pole in Sunday’s race. Power’s speed of 123.825 mph narrowly beat the fastest lap of Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti at 123.360 mph.
Simon Pagenaud, Alex Tagliani and Scott Dixon round out the top-five on the starting grid for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. Dixon was the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series winner at Mid-Ohio.
The green flag will wave on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio broadcast starts at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC.