Monday, June 5, 2023

Three Time Barber IndyCar Winner Josef Newgarden Eliminated From Firestone Fast Six Contention, Qualifies Seventh

Josef Newgarden practices at Barber Motorsports Park ahead of the 2023 IndyCar race.
Josef Newgarden practices at Barber Motorsports Park ahead of the 2023 IndyCar race. Photo courtesy of Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— After turning the fastest lap in his round one qualifying group, Josef Newgarden failed to advance to the final round of IndyCar qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park, qualifying seventh for Sunday’s Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

The three-time winner at the 17-turn, 2.3-mile natural terrain road course turned a lap of 1 minute, 5.9603 seconds to average 125.530 mph, good enough for fifth fastest when the checkered flag waved on the second round of qualifying. However, Scott Dixon was finishing a fast lap and improved from sixth to fifth over Newgarden’s lap.

Scott McLaughlin was still on a flying lap of his own and improved from 10th to third on the last competitive lap of the session. Newgarden was now on the outside looking in, just 0.0617 seconds slower than Dixon’s qualifying lap in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

To put that gap into perspective, Newgarden lost an average of 0.0036 seconds in each turn of the twisty road course, or 0.0268 seconds per mile.

“This is how it shapes up,” an exasperated Newgarden told NBC’s Marty Snider on pit road. “I’m frustrated and annoyed, mostly at myself. I felt like the car was really phenomenal, there’s nothing wrong with our car. It’s just disappointing to not transfer. I tried something different on my warmup that probably wasn’t advised. I mean now looking back on it, I would do it differently in hindsight. But it just is what it is, but we’ve got a fast car.”

Newgarden will have to repeat his 2017 performance at Barber to score his fourth win at the facility. That year, he started seventh and won, one of only three times that a driver starting outside the top three has won at the track.

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