NEWGARDEN WILL START 3RD IN TOMORROW’S INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA
Defending Race Winner Returns With Best Career Qualifying Effort At Barber Motorsports Park
(LEEDS, Ala.) April 23, 2016 – Qualifying Notes
– The defending race winner at Barber Motorsports Park, Josef Newgarden, will be returning to competition from his career-best starting position at the track. Newgarden will roll his No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet off from the 3rd position on the inside of Row 2.
– Heading into qualifications, Newgarden had turned only the 12th quickest lap of the weekend at 67.3844 seconds, set in this morning’s practice. After making some adjustments to the car following that session, the Ed Carpenter Racing team was ready to qualify.
– Newgarden began Round 1, Group 2 on scuffed black Firestone Firehawk tires. After setting a lap that had him sitting 3rd, he waited in his pit box until three minutes were left in the session. He headed back out on a sticker set of alternate red Firehawks and immediately jumped back up to 3rd, easily advancing him to Round 2.
– Scuffed black tires were again the choice to begin Round 2. Identical to Round 1, Newgarden sat 3rd fastest when he pitted for another set of sticker reds. With three minutes to go, he returned to the 2.38-mile, 17-turn permanent road course and set a lap that would put him 6th quick. The lap held, sending him to the Firestone Fast 6 for the first time in 2016.
– Newgarden’s team made the call to have him begin the Fast 6 on the same red tires he concluded Round 2 on. In a change for this weekend, the Fast 6 was only six minutes long. Newgarden still had time to pit for his set of scuffed reds from Round 1. He jumped all the way up to 3rd with a lap of 67.0283 seconds, giving him his starting position for tomorrow’s race.
– His starting position for tomorrow’s race is two spots better than 2015. He started last year’s race from the 5th position before driving to the front of the field and ultimately winning the race. Including this year, his last three starting positions are 3rd (2016), 5th (2015) and 4th (2014). In his four starts at the track, Newgarden has finished the race in the Top 10 each of the last three years.
– Newgarden earned his first career Indy car victory at last year’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama after a commanding performance, leading a field-high 46 of 90 laps. He started 5th and led the race three different times, taking the lead for the final time on Lap 70.
– The race at Barber Motorsports Park will be the final event where Newgarden’s No. 21 will feature a special paint scheme depicting the newest addition to the Fuzzy’s Vodka portfolio. The Commemorative 100th Running Limited Edition bottle, which celebrates the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is now hitting shelves nationwide.
– The 90-lap Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, starting at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 24.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN, NO. 21 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: “Our guys have been working so hard, I’m glad we found a little pace over the weekend! We’ve been in the Top 10 but not quite in that top group; however, we found a little bit on that last change heading into qualifying. it’s great to start 3rd, that’s right where we need to be to try and win this race tomorrow. It’s the last time we’re going to be running this 100th Running Commemorate Bottle Fuzzy’s Vodka car, so it would be nice to get a strong result here for those guys. I think we’re going to have a racecar to do it! We haven’t had the ultimate outright pace, but we’ll have longevity here – we always have.”
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