Newgarden wins Long Beach pole in tight IndyCar title race


LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) – IndyCar Championship racing tightened ahead of the Long Beach Grand Prix after a messy qualifying session that put contenders Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward in the middle of the field.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) – IndyCar Championship racing tightened ahead of the Long Beach Grand Prix after a messy qualifying session that put contenders Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward in the middle of the field.

Josef Newgarden, far third in the standings but still mathematically in the title mix, seized the opportunity and won pole for Sunday’s end-of-season race.

Palou arrived on the temporary street course with a 35-point lead over O’Ward in the standings, needing only an 11th place finish to make him the first Spaniard to win an IndyCar title. His comfortable lead and incredible consistency this season allowed O’Ward and Newgarden to admit they needed near-miracles to deny Palou the crown.

O’Ward and Palou failed to qualify for the final round of qualifying. Newgarden jumped up with Saturday’s winning run and credited a fan who walked the temporary street course rocking Newgarden and his Penske team all weekend.

“We have fought hard all year but it is very unlikely that we will win the championship,” said Newgarden. “Our goal is to win the race.

James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., Was seventh.

O’Ward starts eighth, two places ahead of Palou, 24. Both drivers slowed down in their qualifying heats for a local yellow, allowing several cars to get ahead of them and advance to the final round of the Fast Six.

O’Ward was furious and thought some ahead of him should have been penalized which would have moved him into the final qualifying round. During a long delay in IndyCar race control to determine potential penalties, Arrow McLaren SP team president Taylor Kiel admitted that his O’Ward teammate Felix Rosenqvist had crossed the local yellow and should have lose his position.

“We have literal data that shows at least two other cars were not penalized and continued to run fast in the yellow flag,” said O’Ward. “Maybe the rules don’t apply to the last race of the season? When it’s all on the line. It just sucks.

The 22-year-old Mexican was furious when he left the pit lane. He had calmed down by the time he reached the press conference, but flared up again when the topic arose.

“We’re still waiting for the explanation, just like you and everyone else,” O’Ward said. “But I doubt I have an explanation.”

Palou sat at the top of his pit with his Chip Ganassi Racing team and watched the final qualifying shootout. He had never seen the 11-turn course built for nearly two miles in downtown Long Beach.

Palou, who came close to the wall in qualifying and needed several saves in Saturday morning practice, wasn’t too concerned about his starting position in the middle of the field.

“The good thing is that we have a base,” said Palou. “We know we have a good race car.

___

More AP auto races: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press




Source link

Previous Atlantic Broadband employees plant trees in seven states to support the environment and its local communities
Next DANC Completes Jefferson County Broadband Study, Finds Rural Areas Need More Supplier Choice | Jefferson County

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *