Josef Newgarden claims sensational St. Pete pole position 

It was a 17th career pole position for the Team Penske Chevrolet driver


The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg witnessed a thrilling IndyCar qualifying session that concluded with Josef Newgarden clinching his first pole position since June 2022. Newgarden, in the No.2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, demonstrated unmatched skill and speed on the 1.8-mile street circuit, clocking a blistering lap time of 59.5714 seconds at an average speed of 108.777 mph, marking a triumphant end to his 27-race pole drought.

The qualifying battle reached its peak in the Firestone Fast Six segment, highlighting the competitive spirit of the IndyCar series. Newgarden, a two-time series champion, edged out Felix Rosenqvist by a mere 0.0058 seconds.

Rosenqvist, in his debut weekend with Meyer Shank Racing, registered a time of 59.5772 seconds at an average speed of 108.766 mph, securing a close second place on the grid.

The fight for pole was not only a testament to Newgarden and Rosenqvist‘s driving prowess but also to the competitive nature of IndyCar, with the top six qualifiers representing five different teams. This diversity underscores the series’ parity and the high level of competition among its participants.

Felix Rosenqvist at 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg | Penske Entertainment: Chris Owens

Pato O’Ward and Colton Herta will start from the second row, placing third and fourth respectively, showcasing their strong performances during the qualifying rounds. Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top six, each putting in commendable efforts to start at the sharp end of the grid.

Notably, Felix Rosenqvist broke the track record in the second qualifying segment with a lap of 59.2706 seconds, showcasing the evolving speed and competitiveness of the series.

Several championship contenders, including last year’s top three finishers Alex Palou, Scott Dixon, and Scott McLaughlin, will have to navigate through the field from mid-pack starting positions, adding an extra layer of intrigue to Sunday’s race.

Rookie Tom Blomqvist emerged as the fastest newcomer, qualifying in the 17th position, indicating a promising start to his IndyCar career.

As the teams and drivers prepare for the main event, the qualifying session has set the stage for an electrifying race, promising wheel-to-wheel action and strategic battles throughout the field. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is poised to be a spectacular opener to the 2024 IndyCar season.

Qualifying Top 6 – Grand Prix of St. Petersburg 2024

  1. Josef Newgarden (No. 2, Team Penske) – 59.5714s
  2. Felix Rosenqvist (No. 60, Meyer Shank Racing) – 59.5772s
  3. Pato O’Ward (No. 5, Arrow McLaren) – 59.6540s
  4. Colton Herta (No. 26, Andretti Global) – 59.8189s
  5. Romain Grosjean (No. 77, Juncos Hollinger Racing) – 01:00.0642s
  6. Marcus Ericsson (No. 28, Chip Ganassi Racing) – 01:03.5583s

With such a competitive lineup, Sunday’s race promises to be a thrilling start to the IndyCar season, with strategies and on-track battles expected to play crucial roles in the outcome.

John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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