Newgarden looks to regain the top; wins pole at Detroit

DETROIT ( Associated Press) — Josef Newgarden wants to put the Indianapolis 500 behind him and focus on regaining the top spot in IndyCar while celebrating Chevrolet in his backyard.

Newgarden got the starting position at the Detroit Grand Prix. The race will take place on Sunday at Bell Isle for the last time.

The competition will return next year to downtown Detroit, where it began in 1982 as a Formula One event.

For now, Newgarden could give Chevrolet its 100th win since the automaker returned to IndyCar in 2012, four years before the American driver teamed up with the brand. Newgarden has won a pair of championships with Chevy and is the only driver with two race wins this season in IndyCar.

He was leading the championship after his April win at Long Beach, but a poor run at Indianapolis saw him drop to fifth before heading to Detroit. This is the place to go for a spin—the Grand Prix is ​​sponsored by Chevrolet and runs behind their facility.

Newgarden is puzzled by the twists the season has taken. In six races — with 11 to go — the breakneck pace of new leaders has made each race a celebration of a new person.

“IndyCar is an interesting championship at the moment because every weekend there is a new superstar. It’s funny right now,” Newgarden said. “The reason I think it’s happening is because it’s so competitive. You don’t have one team clearly dominating every session.”

Marcus Ericsson moved from eighth to first place in the standings after the Swede’s victory in the Indianapolis 500, a race worth double points. Mexican Pato O’Ward trails Ericsson by 13 points and was second to Ericsson at Indy.

A year ago, the Monterrey driver split the weekend with Ericsson as they each won their first series race in a doubleheader.

Ericsson will start eighth on Sunday, the only race of the IndyCar weekend. O’Ward is fifth.

Meanwhile, Newgarden became the seventh different driver to start differently in seven qualifying sessions.

Takuma Sato qualified second with Dale Coyne Racing and was followed by Meyer Shank Racing with Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

O’Ward qualified fifth with Arrow McLaren SP and 20-year-old rookie David Malukas is sixth with Coyne.

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