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Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden has massive crash at Road America

Newgarden crashes hard in Road America qualifying
Josef Newgarden makes hard impact at the end of IndyCar qualifying for the Grand Prix at Road America, and the Team Penske driver has been seen and released.

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Two-time reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Josef Newgarden had one of the biggest crashes of his NTT IndyCar Series career during Saturday’s Firestone Fast Six qualifications at Road America.

It came on the final lap of the six-driver battle to determine the pole position for Sunday’s XPEL Grand Prix of Road America.

Newgarden was running full throttle, attempting to win the pole. At an estimated 180 mph, his car hit a slick part of the track in Turn 2 and flew off course, slamming hard into the SAFER Barrier.

The collision sent Newgarden’s No. 2 Chevrolet into the air before coming to an abrupt start.

Newgarden told Sunday morning before IndyCar warmup that he sustained 95 G Forces from the impact.

The picturesque road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, plays host to its annual June stop.

Despite the massive impact, Newgarden was able to climb out of the damaged Chevrolet uninjured. He was evaluated in the AMR IndyCar medical unit and released.

“I’m good, I’m glad I got to see the replay,” Newgarden told NBC Sports after he was released. “What happened is what I thought happened. I feel like an idiot. I got a little bit wide. You can’t do that in this position.

“Look, this is IndyCar. It gets tight. I pushed it a little too far there. That was a rocket-ship car. I don’t know if the lap would have been good enough, but I think it would have been in the realm of something decent. I was trying to go for it like everybody and I overstepped.”

The Team Penske crew prepared a backup car for Sunday’s XPEL Grand Prix at Road America. Dallara officials looked at the crashed vehicle and said the tub did not crack, which means that car can later be repaired. But for expediency, the decision was made to bring out the backup.

In the backup car for Sunday morning’s warmup session, Newgarden was the fastest driver in the 30-minute session at 1:43.1311 around the 4.014-mile, 14-turn course.

“It was slick, but if you don’t drop a wheel on a damp part like I did, you were OK on that last lap,” Newgarden said. “It was really drying. Look at the lap times. It was getting close to dry conditions.

“It was a mistake on my part that caused that. It’s unfortunate because the car was really good. We were going for it. We were in the Fast Six and could have gotten this car on pole for Team Chevy.

“I’m disappointed to make a mistake for the team. They are going to have a long night, unfortunately.

“I was pushing it. I was going for it.”

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie qualifies first as two-time Indy 500 winner sustains heavy hit at the end of qualifying.

While Sunday’s crash may have been his hardest impact, his worst crash came at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, 2016, when he was involved in an incident with Conor Daly and his car went cockpit-first into the outside wall. That was four years before the introduction of aeroscreen on Indy cars.

Newgarden sustained shoulder and wrist injuries in that crash but did not miss any races.

Newgarden told that it was the hardest impact he has experienced since the crash at Texas Motor Speedway nine seasons ago when he was still with Ed Carpenter Racing.

“I didn’t get injured in this one, so I call this the second biggest impact I’ve had behind the one at Texas,” Newgarden told

IndyCar: Indianapolis 500

May 26, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indycar Series driver Linus Lundqvist during the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Linus Lundqvist — Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Linus Lundqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing won the pole for the first time in his IndyCar Series career with a time of 1:45.1519 around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile Road America course in the No. 8 American Legion Chevrolet

“It was hectic, it was crazy, this feels like a British F3 qualifying,” Lundqvist said. “It was fun going back to my roots in Sweden. It was about staying online, not touching the wet.

“It’s huge. What makes it even bigger is to do it with Chip Ganassi Racing and the American Legion as well. It feels like you are representing something bigger than racing, bigger than life.”

Colton Herta of Andretti Global was second in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda at 1:45.2913. He led the field off pit road for the final Fast Six session on racing slicks after the first two rounds of qualifications were completed on the grooved rain tires.

“It was dry enough, so I don’t think it was too crazy and the grip was there,” Herta said. “We went 17 seconds-a-lap faster. Everybody else put them on, too.”

Marcus Armstrong of Chip Ganassi Racing was third at 1:45.6592 in the No. 11 Honda, followed by Andretti Global’s Kyle Kirkwood at 1:46.4498 in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. Newgarden was listed fifth with a fast lap at 1:49.6571 for Team Penske. His teammate, Will Power, was also involved in a crash and will start sixth with no time listed.

Because Power was faster than Newgarden in the second segment, he will start fifth and Newgarden will start sixth.

When Lundqvist was on his cooldown lap, he was unaware of Newgarden’s crash and the fact he won his first career pole.

“You’re joking? You’re joking?” Lundqvist radioed back to his crew.

When he arrived on pit lane, he got out of his car, pumped his arms into the air and was nearly in tears. He was greeted by team owner Ganassi and teammates Scott Dixon and Armstrong.

“There is no better way of rebuilding confidence than my first-ever pole in IndyCar,” Lundqvist said. “We made it work in the end. Man, I’m super, super happy.

“I think every driver wakes up thinking that when they see the rain. Thank you to the team for sticking with me. To get this, that’s nice.”

It was such a shock that when he was handed the NTT P1 Award for the first time in his career, he asked, “Do I get to keep this?”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500