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Newgarden qualifies 5th at Indy after given all-clear


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josef Newgarden will start fifth in Saturday’s IndyCar race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after series officials cleared the injured two-time series champ to qualify.

The 31-year-old from Tennessee advanced to the final group of six qualifiers less than two hours after doctors examined him again. Newgarden responded by easily advancing through the first two rounds and then completed the track’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course in 1 minute, 10.6968 seconds.

Felix Rosenquist won his second pole of the season with a time of 1:10.2265.

Newgarden’s status for the race had been unclear until Friday after a hard crash last weekend at Iowa. At the time, he was leading the race and in position to sweep the two Iowa races when his suspension apparently broke and sent him spinning hard into the wall.

Physicians at the infield care center cleared Newgarden following the crash, but he later collapsed in his motorhome and hit the back of his head. He was airlifted from the track to a nearby hospital to avoid postrace traffic.

On Thursday, series officials said Newgarden he could practice — with the stipulation he be rechecked after Friday morning’s practice. He posted the second-fastest time in practice.

Will Power of Australia edged out his teammate for fourth on the starting grid.

But both Team Penkse drivers are in prime position to close the gap — and perhaps overtake — points leader Marcus Ericsson, who will start from the back of the 25-car field after a mechanical problem brought out a red flag in the first round of qualifying.

Ericsson started the weekend with an eight-point lead over Power, the 2014 series champ and 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner. Newgarden and six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon were tied for third, 34 points behind this year’s Indianapolis 500 winner. Dixon, like Ericsson, drives for Chip Ganassi Racing and will start 20th.

Ericsson won this year’s Indianapolis 500.


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