Saturday's motors: Newgarden wins pole to lead Penske sweep
Elkhart Lake, Wis. — Josef Newgarden has a pole to go with the new garden that fans planted in his honor at Road America.
The defending IndyCar series champion led a Team Penske sweep up front for the 222-mile race Sunday. Newgarden turned a lap time in 1 minute, 43.20 seconds for his fifth career pole and second straight after taking pole position two weeks ago at Texas.
At Road America, Newgarden also gets a vegetable garden .
“Someone set up my own garden, too,” he said Saturday after qualifying. “It shows you the kind of you support you have around here.”
He edged teammate Will Power by 0.05 seconds.
“That was close. We were off the whole time. I gave it everything the last lap — a surprise front row,” Power said.
Andretti Autosport drivers locked down the second row for the road-course race Sunday, with Ryan Hunter-Reay starting third and Alexander Rossi taking fourth.
“Just came up a little short there. All of a sudden, Josef and Will popped out of nowhere,” Hunter-Reay said.
Rookie Robert Wickens will start fifth, with Sebastien Bourdais starting sixth.
Wickens and Newgarden recorded the top two laps over the three practice sessions at Road America.
Newgarden’s momentum carried over into qualifying. Maybe Road America will give him a spark after dropping to fifth in the points standings following a five-race stretch finishing no higher than eighth.
“We were on the pole last week in Texas too. Qualifying for us doesn’t really guarantee anything in this series,” Newgarden said.
“We’ve got speed,” he added. “We’ve just got to make sure we execute on race day.”
Points leader Scott Dixon will start eighth, his lowest starting position since qualifying ninth for the Indy 500 last month.
But Dixon, a four-time series champion, is a threat no matter where he’s stationed on the starting grid.
“I think even if Scott started 23rd he’d still be in the front at the end,” Rossi said.
Phoenix dropped from schedule
The IndyCar series won’t return to ISM Raceway in 2019, ending a three-year run at the track in the Phoenix suburbs.
IndyCar said attendance at the oval in Avondale, Arizona, was disappointing despite “considerable investment” by the open-wheel series and track organizers.
The move was announced in a joint statement from IndyCar and the track.
IndyCar says track president Bryan Sperber and his team were good partners with the series and that it hoped to return when “conditions are right for both parties.”
ISM Raceway is one of 12 tracks operated by International Speedway Corporation. Sperber says IndyCar is talking with ISC about other potential venues for next season.
IndyCar had returned to ISM Raceway in 2016 after 11 years away from the track.
Kyle Larson claimed the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series race on his home track at Sonoma, Calif., turning a lap at 94.597 mph in his Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
Larson earned his sixth career pole on Saturday and his second on the familiar road course at Sonoma Raceway. The 25-year-old driver grew up in the Sacramento suburbs and attended races at this track as a fan of fellow Northern Californian Jeff Gordon.
Larson edged Martin Truex Jr., who will start on the front row after turning a lap at 94.484 mph. Truex has 11 starts in the top 10 this year.
Chase Elliott qualified in third, and Jamie McMurray was fourth. Kevin Harvick finished sixth, and Cup Series points leader Kyle Busch will start ninth.
At Madison, Ill., Justin Haley won the Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park for his first career victory, pulling away on a wild last restart.
The 19-year-old Haley, from Winamac, Indiana, took the lead when Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Noah Gragson and Todd Gilliland made contact racing for the lead on a restart with seven laps to go.
Haley then held off GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, a four-time winner season, on the final restart with two laps left, with Brett Moffitt spinning near the front of the field.
Haley won in his 37th series start.
Gilliland was second, followed by Sauter, Myatt Snider, Zane Smith, Chad Finley, Jesse Little, Riley Herbst, Cody Coughlin and Gragson.
At Le Castellet, France, Lewis Hamilton secured a record-extending 75th pole position at Formula One’s French Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Points leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will start the race from third, followed by Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Defending champion Hamilton, who also topped both practice sessions on Friday, and teammate Bottas benefited from an engine upgrade that Mercedes had failed to roll out in the last round when Hamilton lost the lead to Vettel.
Hamilton trails Vettel by one point at the top of the standings heading into Sunday’s race at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
It was the third pole of the season for the 33-year-old Hamilton.
At Norwalk, Ohio, Clay Millican broke the Top Fuel track speed record in rain-shortened qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Millican had a 3.750-second run at 332.67 mph in the lone qualifying session of the day. He has six No. 1 qualifiers this season.
Courtney Force topped the Funny Car field, Jeg Coughlin Jr. was the fastest in Pro Stock, and Matt Smith took the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle.