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Newgarden Captures Second Place Starting Spot in Sonoma

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Josef Newgarden will start on the outside of the front row in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Sunday, Aug. 24, capturing his third second place start of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar season and second on a permanent road course.

The Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) driver turned a fast lap of 1 minute 17.7318 seconds in the third and final round of Firestone Fast 6 knockout style qualifying Saturday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. It was his fifth Firestone Fast 6 appearance this year.

“You always want the pole, but it’s good to start in the front couple of rows,” Newgarden said. “Hopefully that can translate into a good result in the race. We’ve been waiting for it and knocking on the door, but tomorrow is what really counts. So if we can figure out how to get a win I’d be super pleased with that.”

sonoma qualifying 1

Newgarden has previously started 23rd and 17th on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn natural-terrain road course in 2013 and 2014, respectively. He finished 24th in last year’s race.

“This was our worst track in 2012,” Newgarden said. “It honestly was. So starting up front is a big deal. I think it’s a very difficult track to understand as a driver. With a team, you are trying to drive an engineering group for what you need around this place. The direction that you feed to them is so critical.

“I know that a couple times during the test here a few weeks ago we made a wrong change and went the wrong way and I lost a second of pace. That’s how critical our setup is. Understanding that is really important.

“I think I’ve just gotten better at (feeding information) to the team. It’s so cool to see our progress because in 2012 we nearly started last. Now we’re in 2014 and nearly starting first. It’s a really neat deal for me, so I’m excited for tomorrow.”

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will air live on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 24. The 85-lap race will also air on IMS Radio Network on channels XM 209 and Sirius 213.

For trackside updates from Newgarden’s No. 67 car, follow @SFHRindy on Twitter and Instagram and like Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing on Facebook.