NEWTON, Iowa – Conor Daly stunned the paddock as the Carlin driver won the first pole of his NTT IndyCar Series career Friday at Iowa Speedway.
When Daly’s No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet completed the first of two qualification laps at 175.188 miles per hour, it was nearly three full mph faster than any other driver on the track up to that point.
His second lap at 174.960 mph held the pole for Saturday night’s second race of the Iowa IndyCar 250s but was eventually knocked down to third for that contest.
Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden will start on the pole for Saturday night’s 250-lap contest after his second lap at 175.333 mph was the best of any driver on their second lap. Team Penske teammate Will Power also knocked Daly down a position for the second race with a fast lap at 175.024 mph.
Both Team Penske drivers were in Chevrolets.
Newgarden was the second fastest qualifier for Friday night’s race, that is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Prior to Friday’s qualifications, Daly had never qualified in the top-10 for an oval race in IndyCar. In his three previous Iowa Speedway starts, Daly started 21st in 2016, 19th in 2017 and 13th last year.
“I guess I didn’t hold Pato O’Ward up that, time, that’s for sure,” Daly quipped, referring to an earlier qualification incident this season. “To be driving this car, all things to Trevor Carlin and Gallagher. I hated this place in the past, and today I got a pole. In practice, we were happy the whole time, looking through things. We had clean air, and this is wild.
“I have started on the last row nearly every time I have raced here. What a difference. Now, we have to get it ready for race one tonight.”
Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud was unable to get his engine to start in the No. 22 Menard’s Chevrolet and he did not qualify. Pagenaud will start last in the 23-car field in both races.
Up front, however, it was Daly’s No. 59 Chevrolet at 175.188 mph followed by Newgarden’s No. 1 Chevy at 175.107 mph. Team Penske’s Will Power was third at 174.807 mph in a Chevrolet alongside Colton Herta’s No. 88 Honda at 174.799 mph.
Alexander Rossi’s Honda rounded out the top five for Friday night’s race at 172.263 mph.
For Saturday’s race, Newgarden’s Chevy is on pole at 175.333 mph followed by Power’s Chevy at 175.024 mph. Daly will start third after a second lap at 174.960 mph followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay’s Honda at 174.245 mph. Herta rounds out the top five at 173.437 mph in a Honda.
“If you ask me where I prefer to start, it’s always in the front,” Newgarden said. “We’ll start on the front row for tonight’s race and on the pole on Saturday. I believe our Chevy has the power to do it and we are going to make good work of it both tonight and tomorrow night.
“When you have good race cars, it starts with that. If I could have 10 short ovals on the schedule, I would take it. It starts with the team, what they give you and then you make the most of it.”
Newgarden is a two-time Iowa winner who won this race last year.
Friday night’s race begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be televised on NBCSN.