Reigning IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden has stolen pole position for tonight’s Genesys 300 at the death after it initially seemed no one could touch a rapid Scott Dixon.
Last year’s title rivals were separated by a mere 0.1mph over a two-lap average as a slippery Texas Motor Speedway continued to catch out many of the sport’s veterans.
Initially, Andretti’s Zach Veach proved his practice times were little fluke, snaring a two-lap average of 213.981 mph to hold provisional pole as one-by-one his more experienced rivals failed to better his time.
Ultimately, it would take until the 14th car of Ryan Hunter-Reay to pip Veach. The 2012 champion battling a scarred confidence after a crash in practice to claim the first 214+mph two-lap average.
But that would be before Dixon obliterated the competition with a monstrous two-lap average of 215.638mph as an astounded Hunter-Reay watched on in disbelief.
However, a determined Newgarden, the final driver to set a time, would usurp the kiwi’s reign at the head of the leader board to steal an unlikely pole position.
It now puts a large emphasis on the start of today’s race as the circuit has proven that overtaking can be difficult with the greasy surface and narrow confinement of the walls.
Last year’s pole-sitter Takuma Sato had a scary shunt at Turn 1 when his RLLR Honda skated off the racing line, spinning himself into the outside wall.
Sato was taken away for medical examinations, but his race fate will be dependent on how quickly the team can repair the heavily wounded car.
Simon Pagenaud would grab third place ahead of Hunter-Reay, with Veach and Will Power making up the third row of the grid.
The rest of the Top-10 was made up of Graham Rahal, Alexander Rossi, Felix Rosenqvist and Tony Kanaan.
Spanish rookie Alex Palou was partaking in his debut oval race, securing a respectable 16th for the Dale Coyne Racing outfit.
The season-opening race is scheduled to begin from midday today and will be broadcast live on Sky Sport 5.