Newgarden on Honda 200 Pole by Narrowest of Margins

(Image: Stephen Conley / The Podium Finish)

Josef Newgarden will lead the Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to green on Sunday afternoon after edging 2020 winner Colton Herta by three-hundredths of a second.

After qualifying, Herta was asked if he could describe what that time is like and if there is anything he could have done differently, he responded, “Nope and…nope.”

As for Newgarden, “That was a little closer than I would want.” Newgarden will start on pole for the third straight race, becoming the first Indycar Series driver to do this since 2015.

However, Newgarden hopes this is the pole that will put him, and Penske Racing, back in victory lane. The team has been shut out so far this season. Penske Racing has only gone this far into the season without a win seven times since the 1970s.

The driver of the No. 2 XPEL Chevrolet said on his radio after claiming the pole, “I’m out of breath!” Newgarden said afterward that he hasn’t had to push it so hard in some time.

This is Newgarden’s 14th career pole and first at Mid-Ohio. This is especially important as they both come with a championship point.

The Stats Don’t Lie

But at Mid-Ohio, statistics show the value of the pole even more. Fifteen of the 37 previous INDYCAR races – 40.5 percent – have been won by the fastest qualifier. Both of last year’s races were won from the pole and three of the past four at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course have been.

Both Newgarden and Herta agree that winning tomorrow will require avoiding late-race yellows. Newgarden knows all too well the feelings of losing races to late-race cautions, noting, “I lost at least 4 last year due to them.” Some may say he has also lost the last two in a row due to situations at the end of the race in which he sat on the pole.

The local favorite, Meyer-Shank Racing, had its qualifying session come to a strange end after being second fastest. Jack Harvey was coming to the line on his final lap and spun. The car would not refire and would be forced to be pushed to the garage.

Fastest in Today’s Qualifying Session

1. Josef Newgarden
1:06.6739

2. Colton Herta
1:06.6770

3. Marcus Ericsson
1:07.0723

4. Will Power
1:07.1161

5. Scott Dixon
1:07.1358

6. Alexander Rossi
1:07.2181

7. Alex Palou
1:06.4883

8. Graham Rahal
1:06.5946

9. James Hinchcliffe
1:06.6134

10. Ryan Hunter-Reay
1:06.7517

11. Rinus VeeKay
1:06.7671

12. Sebastien Bourdais
1:06.9232

13. Felix Rosenqvist
1:06.7898

14. Scott McLaughlin
1:06.7313

15. Simon Pagenaud
1:06.8437

16. Ed Jones
1:06.7882

17. Max Chilton
1:06.8473

18. Romain Grosjean
1:06.8642

19. Takuma Sato
1:07.0951

20. Pato O’Ward
1:06.8679

21. Dalton Kellett
1:07.5866

22. Santino Ferrucci
1:06.9254

23. Jack Harvey
1:07.6740

24. Conor Daly
1:07.0704

25. Jimmie Johnson
1:08.4077

26. Ryan Norman
1:07.4714

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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