Despite a slight gearing problem that cost him speed on the second of his two timed laps, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden led the Honda IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying effort Friday at The Milwaukee Mile and will start from the eighth position in Saturday’s Milwaukee IndyFest.
Other Honda-powered drivers had various issues that hindered their qualifying efforts. Takuma Sato’s first lap was quick enough to contend for the pole, but he slid wide in Turn Three on his second lap and was fortunate not to brush the wall, dropping him down the order. He will start the ABC Building Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara from 15th. James Jakes was another driver to have a “moment” early in his qualifying run, but recovered to qualify 12th.
Sam Schmidt Motorsports teammates Simon Pagenaud and Tristan Vautier also had gearing issues that saw them hitting the rev limiter during their runs, but qualified 9th and 10th, respectively. Several drivers battled poor handling during their runs, including Dario Franchitti and Graham Rahal.
Saturday’s 250-lap race, the third oval race of 2013, starts at 3:30 p.m. with live network television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.
Josef Newgarden (#67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda Dallara) qualified 8th, his second consecutive top-eight qualifying result of 2013: “I think we could’ve run a little bit better. We hit the ‘hard limiter’ [limiting maximum engine rpms] in Turn One and that really drags you down. But we’ve got a really good handling car for tomorrow, and that’s when it counts. We tuned it and made it better from our starting package, which was already good. So we should be really strong for the race.”