Race Weekend Central

Josef Newgarden Opens 2024 With Pole in St. Petersburg

Josef Newgarden will open his 2024 NTT IndyCar Series campaign from pole position after putting up the fastest time in Saturday’s (March 9) qualifying session for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Newgarden, the defending Indianapolis 500 winner, asserted his dominance on ovals last season, but he only had one podium finish on a road course with a second place at Road America. Now, Newgarden will be in an optimal position to chase his first non-oval win since Road America in 2022.

“No,” Newgarden told NBC’s Marty Snider when asked if he had expected to take the pole. “Gosh, I get jacked up every time I show up for an IndyCar race. You know, it’s an elevated level when you start out the year because you just don’t know. You have no idea if you’re going to keep coming back and producing results.

“It’s very difficult; you saw how tight it was. I didn’t know that this would come today. I just thought ‘Look, let’s get through round one, let’s get through round two and then see what we can make happen in the Fast Six … I’m happy to be back!”

Firestone Fast Six

Felix Rosenqvist and Romain Grosjean, both entering the season with small teams after leaving Arrow McLaren and Andretti Global, respectively, were the hot topic through the final round, both punching above their new teams’ normal weight and securing second and fifth-place starting positions.

The session ended in thrilling fashion, with only 0.0058 seconds between first and second.

PositionDriverNumberTeamTime
1Josef Newgarden3Team Penske59.5714
2Felix Rosenqvist60Meyer Shank Racing59.5772
3Pato O’Ward5Arrow McLaren59.6540
4Colton Herta26Andretti Global59.8189
5Romain Grosjean77Juncos Hollinger Racing1:00.0642
6Marcus Ericsson28Andretti Global1:03.5583
See also
2024 IndyCar Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Preview

Round 2

After much speculation throughout the week that speeds would reach a new level on the streets of St. Pete, the track record was first broken by Herta during the second round. Soon after Herta set his then-record lap, Rosenqvist followed, breaking the track record with a time of 59.2706 seconds.

Eliminated from Round 2 were:

PositionDriverNumberTeamDeficit
7Rinus VeeKay21Ed Carpenter Racing0.0119
8Will Power12Team Penske 0.0212
9Scott McLaughlin3Team Penske0.0359
10Marcus Armstrong11Chip Ganassi Racing0.0745
11Scott Dixon9Chip Ganassi Racing0.3101
12Christian Lundgaard45Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing0.4790

Round 1 Group 1

The first session of the day passed without issue. Ericsson finished with the fastest time ahead of Armstrong and O’Ward.

PositionDriverNumberTeamDeficit
13Alex Palou10Chip Ganssi Racing0.1695
15Alexander Rossi7Arrow McLaren0.1962
17Tom Blomqvist66Meyer Shank Racing0.3766
19Linus Lundqvist8Chip Ganassi Racing0.3832
21Christian Rasmussen20Ed Carpenter Racing0.5819
23Kyffin Simpson4Chip Ganassi Racing0.6754
25Colin Braun51Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing1.6842

Round 1 Group 2

Round 1 Group 2 likewise passed with no major incidents. Herta set the fastest time, followed by Grosjean and Rosenqvist.

Eliminated from Round 1 Group 2 were:

PositionDriverNumberTeamDeficit
14Santino Ferrucci14A. J. Foyt Enterprises0.0242
16Callum Ilott6Arrow McLaren0.0971
18Kyle Kirkwood27Andretti Global0.1162
20Agustin Canapino78Juncos Hollinger Racing0.1368
22Graham Rahal15Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing0.3013
24Sting Ray Robb41A. J. Foyt Enterprises0.6185
26Pietro Fittipaldi30Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing0.7396
27Jack Harvey18Dale Coyne Racing0.7772

2024 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Qualifying Results

The 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will take place on Sunday, March 9 at 12 p.m. ET with coverage on NBC.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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