BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Josef Newgarden posted the quickest lap in a shortened warm-up for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with a lap of 1 minute. 9.2469 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course.
The scheduled 30-minute session was cut short by almost 7 minutes because of an incident involving the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing car driven by Charlie Kimball, which slid off the course and across the grass into the Turn 13 tire barrier. Kimball was checked at the infield medical center and cleared to drive.
Click it: Final practice results || Starting lineup || Qualifying results of Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Newgarden, who tied his career-best qualifying effort of fourth in the No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing car, recorded 10 laps in the session. Helio Castroneves, who qualified sixth in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske car, was second quick in the session (1:09.3458) and Ryan Hunter-Reay was third -- the same spot he'll start the 90-lap race -- in the No. 27 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
Juan Pablo Montoya, competing in his third race for Team Penske, was fourth quick. He qualified a season-best eighth in the No. 2 PPG car. Verizon P1 Award winner Will Power posted the fifth-best lap time in the session.
Newgarden's previous best qualifying spot was fourth at Long Beach two weeks earlier, and he would have been in position to challenge for a podium finish but was involved in seven-car incident on Lap 56. In the opener at St. Petersburg, he advanced from the 22nd starting position to finish ninth.
That was the same start/result for Newgarden at Barber last April -- his first top 10. His high-water mark is second at Baltimore last September.
"I think we've gotten off to a good start this year," said Newgarden, who joined Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing two months after winning the Indy Lights championship. "We've had a lot more consistent speed, which is good. If you have one good session where you're fast, doesn't mean anything. If you're quick in all three practice sessions, it bodes better for the weekend.
"We found something that clicks better on the race car and for me. It's hard to do in a small group. We don't want to make any excuses, but we've just been getting better as a team. Everyone works together better. I've been doing a better job of helping the team find what we need. That's crucial. I think we have a better package than we've had around here in the past."