Honda Racing–Honda’s Newgarden Leads Final Indy 500 Qualifiers

Second-year IZOD IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden led the field Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the final day of qualifying for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500.  Newgarden’s four-lap average of 225.731 mph, posted shortly after the historic 2.5-mile oval opened for qualifying at 12 p.m. EDT, put his Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda at the top of the final nine qualifiers who successfully joined the 33-car starting field today.

Graham Rahal also posted a four-lap qualifying average of just over 225 mph for the second-fastest run of the day and will start from 26th, while reigning Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier qualified for his first Indianapolis 500 with a run of 224.873 mph and will start from the inside of the 10th row, 28th.  

Other Honda-powered qualifiers in final “Bump Day” qualifying included Ana Beatriz, 29th, and her Dale Coyne Racing teammate, Pippa Mann on the outside of the 10th row, in 30th. Another Indy 500 rookie, Conor Daly, bounced back from a heavy crash on Thursday to qualify 31st for A.J. Foyt Racing; while Katherine Legge ran only her first practice laps for this year’s race this morning, but still claimed the 33rdand final starting spot in a Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

IZOD IndyCar Series activities at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway resume on Friday with the traditional final practice session, known as “Carb Day”.  The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 starts at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, May 26, with live television coverage on ABC. 

Josef Newgarden (#21 Century 21 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda) qualified 25th, fastest in the final day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500:  “We’re in the show, so it’s good!  We had a little bit of a bobble yesterday [in first-day qualifying] and we weren’t able to show our representative speed.  But we did a little bit better today and I think we have even more to come for the race.  We’ve got a lot of confidence going into our second ‘500’”.

Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development): “Congratulations to the second-day qualifiers, and to the Sam Schmidt team for getting its third car prepared and in the show for Katherine [Legge].  A number of Honda-powered cars put in considerable mileage today, which demonstrated good reliability.  The hard work for HPD will continue throughout this week, as we prepare to give our teams the best possible shot at winning next Sunday’s race.”