Josef Newgarden was less than impressive in Friday’s practice sessions at the Honda Indy of Toronto, but Saturday was quite the opposite.
Newgarden was second in Saturday morning’s lone practice session before taking the pole for Sunday’s event in a session where wet weather conditions played a role in deciding the starting lineup.
“Yesterday I was more than concerned,” Newgarden said after qualifying. “Actually yesterday I didn’t think we had the speed to compete with Scott or some of the top 5, and then overnight we made great changes, and then the Hitachi car just came to life. Today was fantastic in the morning. So the only thing was when it started raining, you go, man, I think we have a P1 car, and now I don’t know what we’re going to get.”
Newgarden’s pole lap put him ahead of the favourite to win the race, New Zealand’s Scott Dixon.
Dixon was quickest in both of Friday’s practice sessions before qualifying second for the race. Despite being disappointed with losing out on the pole, Dixon’s still confident heading into Sunday’s race.
“Still on the front row. Still a good spot. I think we have got a great chance, and the car has been tops all weekend, but yeah, disappointed with that,” he said.
Simon Pagenaud will start third while his Team Penske teammate Will Power, the 2016 Toronto race winner, will start on the outside of row two. Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay were fifth and sixth in the Firestone Fast Six.
Takuma Sato, who has been consistently one of the fastest drivers all weekend, qualified seventh with Jordan King, James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens rounding out the top-10.