Watkins Glen, NY – Alexander Rossi earned his first career Verizon IndyCar Series pole award on Saturday afternoon in Watkins Glen. It wasn’t much of a surprise either. Rossi, has been in the top five in all three practice sessions and even stronger as a whole entering this weekend as well.
But, the top two in the IndyCar points standings are both disappointed that they’re not on the pole instead.
Scott Dixon will start second in his No. 9 Honda which is obviously a great starting spot for the Chip Ganassi Racing driver. But, he felt that he had a lap good enough for his second Verizon P1 Pole Award of the season though. Dixon, says he felt Helio Castroneves slowed him up and wasn’t too happy about it when it was all said and done.
“It’s hard not to be happy with a front-row start here at Watkins Glen in the NTT Data car, but the frustrating part is we had the car and then some to get the pole,” Dixon said after qualifying. “We caught Helio (Castroneves) so quickly, I’m not exactly sure what happened or what he was thinking. We caught him with, I think, two laps to go so I’m not sure if we should have backed off sooner or what. I think at the end, what we had at least another three to four tenths in the car, so we left a lot on the table for sure today.
“So it’s frustrating to lose that way when we had so much more. We just straight up didn’t get the gap the way we needed to and it cost us.”
Newgarden, will start third, but he said a mistake on his own end is why he’s not the one on the pole for Sunday’s 60 Lap race.
“I’m not sure that any of us on the DeVilbiss Chevy team thought we’d be in that fight for the pole,” Newgarden said. “I think we had the pole car though. Unfortunately, I messed up in Turn 9. I feel awful about that and I’ll beat myself up over it for a bit.”
Both say their cars on race trim are stellar and that they should be in the hunt to win Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen (1 p.m. ET/NBCSN/INDYCAR Radio Network). But, both know what could have been too.
Dixon, was only 0.053-seconds off the pole. But, Newgarden was just 0.001-seconds behind Dixon for the front row. Both are right in the sense that if Dixon doesn’t catch Castroneves, he’s on the pole himself. But, if Newgarden doesn’t mess up in Turn 9, he would be on the pole himself.