Newgarden’s last-second stunner claims St. Petersburg IndyCar pole

Josef Newgarden threw down a huge lap as time expired to claim pole position for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, placing the No. 2 Team Penske Chevy first by the tiniest of margins. Newgarden’s 59.5714s lap was a scant 0.0058s faster than Meyer Shank Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 60 Honda.

“I get jacked up every time I show up for an IndyCar race,” said Newgarden, who lost out on poles in 2023, but claimed the 17th of his career on Saturday. “I didn’t know this would come today. Just really proud of this team. We’re here to go after it every weekend.”

For Rosenqvist, the dream start with his new team continues after being fastest on Friday, second in the morning practice session, and second in qualifying.


“It’s been a really solid start so far,” he said. “We had the feeling from practice; it’s not often you have that in the first race with a new team.”

Although it wasn’t reproduced in the Fast Six, Rosenqvist set the outright lap record in the Firestone Fast 12 with a tour of 59.2706s, bettering Will Power’s 59.3466s from 2022.

Rosenqvist’s close friend and former teammate Pato O’Ward was close as well but had to settle for third in the No. 5 Chevy after coming up short by 0.082s.

Colton Herta was fourth for Andretti Global with the No. 26 Honda with a 59.8189s, and he was trailed by last year’s pole winner Romain Grosjean, who starred for Juncos Hollinger Racing in fifth thanks to the 1m00.0062s lap he produced with the No. 77 Chevy.

Andretti’s Marcus Ericsson completed the Fast Six with the No. 28 Honda with a 1m03.5583s run. Just outside the group was an impressive Rinus VeeKay, who captured seventh in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevy as his strong from Friday has carried forward.

Big qualifying surprises in the wrong direction were led by defending series champion Alex Palou, who failed to transfer out of the first round and will start 13th, and the misery was compounded as teammates Marcus Armstrong and Scott Dixon were relegated to the wrong side of the Fast Six with Armstrong in 10th and Dixon in 11th as Chip Ganassi’s new five-car team spanned 10th to 23rd.

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi was also disappointed in his pace and will start 15th. Similar feelings were found with Callum Ilott, who hoped to start better than 16th on his debut for Arrow McLaren, and Andretti’s Kyle Kirkwood, who was behind the curve after crashing in the morning session and will start 18th.

Graham Rahal, who seems to struggle in qualifying for this race every year, was part of Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s largely unfulfilling afternoon after securing 22nd, four spots ahead of new teammate Pietro Fittipaldi in 26th. The third member of the RLL trio, Christian Lundgaard, offered a glimpse of hope in 12th, but was slowest of those in the Fast 12.

Race days starts with a warmup from 9:10-9:40am on Peacock and then the 100-lap race goes green on NBC at 12:30pm ET.


Story originally appeared on Racer