Newgarden on Pole as Penske Sweeps Front Row

In the end, the Kohler Grand Prix starts the 2018 edition just as it did last year, with Team Penske teammates on the front row. In 2017 Penske drivers occupied the first two rows of the starting grid. Josef Newgarden won his third pole of the season, the most for any driver this year. Will Power starts on the outside.

Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi are in the second row.  It had to be a disappointing qualifying for Rossi, who was strong in the early practice session.

The third row starters are Robert Wickens and Sebastien Bourdais. Wickens led the morning practice.

The biggest surprise of the day was points leader Scott Dixon not making the Fast Six.  Dixon had not been one of the stronger cars this weekend, but I thought he would find enough to get to the final round. Simon Pagenaud also had to be unhappy with his 14th place starting spot. He was third in the morning practice. It was strange that he wasn’t as strong in qualifying as his Penske teammates.

The Penske cars were stronger on the red tires in qualifying trim. Honda’s seemed better on blacks.  This could set up some interesting tire strategy tomorrow.

I will have a post race thoughts and other things to discuss Monday. A full race recap will be on Wildfireradiosports Tuesday.






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