Yes, Newgarden was the only Honda driver to make the nine-driver pole shootout, but he was the slowest of the seven who completed a qualifying attempt during the 90-minute segment. He’ll start on the inside of Row 3 after going 224.037.
Crew members were scrambling throughout the afternoon to fix his car in time for the resumption of qualifying. Sunday’s round is expected to fill the final nine spots in the field.
One thing that will help is that Dallara, the chassis maker, which has an assembly plant in Speedway, Ind.
“We ripped a lot of stuff off it, but we’re actually going to fix that tub and go back at it,” Clauson said. “So we’re not even going to get the backup car out, we’re just going to go back out with this one probably tomorrow.”
NOT SO SMOOTH: Clauson was the first driver to hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway walls with the new cars.
But he wasn’t only the one having a tough day.
Spanish veteran Oriol Servia crashed on his warm-up lap when he spun coming out of the fourth turn, slid down the track, hit the inside wall and then hit the attenuator at the start of pit road. He, was released from the infield care center and was cleared to drive but did not get another
The biggest hit of the day? Easily Ed Carpenter. His No. 20 car spun going through the second turn, then slid up the track and slammed into the outside wall. The rear wheels came up but the car never got airborne.
The good news: Nobody was seriously hurt.
“While we never like to see any car involved in an incident, we have been very pleased to see all of the drivers walk away from the 200 mph plus impacts,” said Will Phillips, IndyCar’s vice president of technology. “All the credit to Dallara and those who had input into the safety of the new car.”
Another rookie, Colombia’s Sebastian Saavedra, blew an engine on his warm-up lap and wound up with No. 24 starting spot, the outside of Row 8.
And Tony Kanaan, who won the pole in 2005 but has never won the 500, was forced to requalify after his No. 11 car failed post-qualifying technical inspection. Series officials erased his qualifying average of 225.100 because of a violation involving the ballast. He requalified at 224.751, good enough to make the shootout but never completed another full qualifying run.
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