Race Weekend Central

Josef Newgarden Qualifies 8th, Points-Leader Scott Dixon 13th at Barber

LEEDS, Ala. ā€” After a tumultuous week following his disqualification from the NTT IndyCar Series’ season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Josef Newgarden qualified eighth on Saturday (April 27) for Sunday’s Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Tennessee native set a best lap of 1 minute, 6.2908 seconds to average 124.904 mph around the 17-turn, 2.3-mile road course. Newgarden was about a quarter of a second slower than Felix Rosenqvist‘s best lap to put the Swede in the final round of qualifying.

“I didn’t do a very good job, so we’re going to roll off eighth,” Newgarden told NBC Sports. “The team did a great job though. We’ve had a good car this weekend. Wish we could’ve gotten a little bit more out of it there, […] and just excited to race.”

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Newgarden advanced to the second round of qualifying after posting the third fastest time in his first round qualifying group. His Team Penske teammates Scott McLaughlin and Will Power locked out the front row, with McLaughlin snatching pole position after the checkered flag waved to end qualifying.

Earlier in the week, Newgarden was embroiled in a cheating scandal after INDYCAR discovered that he and McLaughlin both utilized the Push-to-Pass boost system at an unauthorized time at the first race of the season in St. Petersburg. INDYCAR disqualified Newgarden and McLaughlin from the race results after the pair initially finished first and third.

The disqualifications moved Scott Dixon to the head of the championship table, but the six-time IndyCar champion could not ride the newfound title lead out of the first round of qualifying. Dixon was seventh fastest in his first round qualifying group and will start Sunday’s race from 13th position. All Dixon needed to advance was just over a tenth of a second.

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Josef Newgarden: "I Didn't Know I Did Something Wrong in St. Pete"

“I thought we would’ve been OK there, just came up a little short,” Dixon told NBC Sports. “Maybe under-drove it a little bit, but kind of wanted to get a sort-of lap in, and then the tires were kind of gone at that point.

“Frustrating to just miss. As a group, we’ve been a little off this weekend. It looks like the other two (Chip Ganassi Racing cars in group one) made it through, so kudos to them.”

Sunday’s race will air live on NBC with the broadcast starting at 1 p.m. ET.

About the author

Christopher DeHarde has covered IndyCar racing and the Road to Indy for various outlets since 2014. In addition to open wheel racing, DeHarde has also covered IMSA and various short track racing events around Indiana. Originally from New Orleans, DeHarde moved to the Indianapolis area in 2017 to further pursue a career as a motorsports writer.

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