Reigning IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden has claimed pole position for the first race of the delayed 2020 season at Texas Motor Speedway.
After the COVID-19 pandemic postponements to the new IndyCar campaign, action belatedly begins in Texas this weekend with Team Penske's Newgarden edging five-time champion Scott Dixon with his two-lap average speed of 215.740mph.
Newgarden, winner of last year's race, was the final driver to have his qualifying run and he was able to displace practice pace-setter Dixon by just 0.102mph who had held provisional pole.
Newgarden's Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud completes the top three ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, who bounced back from an off in practice earlier on Saturday.
Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport team-mate Zach Veach has qualified in an excellent fifth position ahead of Will Power, who made it three Penske cars in the top six.
Graham Rahal has qualified seventh ahead of Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist and AJ Foyt Racing's Tony Kannan, who is starting his final season in IndyCar.
Arrow McLaren SP's Pato O'Ward was third quickest in practice but qualified down in 18th position, with his team-mate Oliver Askew qualifying in 20th place for his IndyCar debut.
Newgarden takes pole for IndyCar opener as Sato crashes
2017 Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato, who took pole position for last year's race at Texas, crashed out on the start of his first qualifying lap and his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team faces a race against time to repair his damaged car before tonight's race.
IndyCar debutant Rinus Veekay was another driver to fall foul of the condensed one-day format as a practice crash left him unable to set a qualifying time.
Santino Ferrucci elected to skip qualifying in order to allow more time to develop his car set-up after a difficult practice session.
On his oval racing debut, Ferrucci's Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Alex Palou qualified in a respectable 16th place.
The 2020 IndyCar opening race takes place later today due to the shortened schedule.
IndyCar - Texas Motor Speedway - Qualifying Results Pos Driver Team Car Speed 1 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 215.740 2 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 215.638 3 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 215.464 4 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 214.311 5 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 213.981 6 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 213.930 7 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 213.878 8 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 213.689 9 Felix Rosenqvist Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 213.560 10 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 213.388 11 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 213.190 12 Charlie Kimball AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 212.780 13 Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 212.714 14 Colton Herta Andretti Harding Dallara/Honda 212.697 15 James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 212.603 16 Alex Palou Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 212.504 17 Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 212.040 18 Patricio O'Ward McLaren SP Dallara/Chevrolet 212.013 19 Conor Daly Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 211.425 20 Oliver Askew McLaren SP Dallara/Chevrolet 210.839 21 Jack Harvey Meyer Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 205.647 22 Santino Ferrucci Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 0.000 23 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 0.000 24 Rinus Van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 0.000
Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus