With the third-fastest time in the first practice session for the Firestone 550, Josef Newgarden was setting a blistering pace in his Honda-powered car. Unfortunately, an engine issue didn’t allow the rookie to qualify, and he will start 25th.
In the closing minutes of morning practice at Texas Motor Speedway, Newgarden’s No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) Dallara/Honda/Firestone car lost power as it rolled into its pit box.
SFHR immediately began work to change engines but was unable to have the car ready for qualifying, which was scheduled only two hours and 15 minutes after the incident.
Per INDYCAR rules, Newgarden will incur a 10-spot grid penalty at the Firestone 550 because of the engine change. He will start from the 25th position.
“I think we’re in a bit of a hole from our starting position, but it’s nothing that we can’t hopefully overcome during the race,” Newgarden said. “One thing about SFHR is that they never give up.”
Newgarden rallied with a brand new Honda-powered engine under the cover of his No. 67 car during the final practice session of the day at Texas Motor Speedway to finish 10th on the time chart.
“The race is going to be very difficult tomorrow, so we’ll have to have a great set-up,” Newgarden said. “I have complete faith in the entire team behind me though.”
Honda-powered cars swept the top-four qualifying spots for the Firestone 550. Alex Tagliani of Bryan Herta Autosport claimed the pole with a two-lap average speed of 215.691 mph.
Dario Franchitti (215.646 mph), Graham Rahal (215.554 mph) and Scott Dixon (215.331 mph), all driving Honda-powered cars, will start in positions two through four. Will Power rounds out the top five with a qualifying average of 215.116 mph.
The green flag will drop on the Firestone 550 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, June 9 at 8:45 p.m. ET.