Josef Newgarden broke Dale Coyne Racing's hearts with pole for the final Detroit Grand Prix to be held at the illustrious Belle Isle circuit.
Newgarden's session was far from straightforward, as he narrowly made the fast six, and he faced a surprise challenge from Takuma Sato, who was on provisional pole for the session's closing stages. But Newgarden found over a tenth on his final run to take the 16th pole position of his IndyCar career.
Dalton Kellett would go into Qualifying on the backfoot after the Canadian took on a six-place grid drop for an unapproved engine change before the start of last week's Indianapolis 500, with Kellett giving his AJ Foyt mechanics plenty to do between sessions after hitting the wall during the second Practice session.
Kellett wouldn't have much time to dwell on his Practice crash as he was placed in group one for Qualifying alongside Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Scott McLaughlin, Devlin DeFrancesco, Romain Grosjean, Santino Ferrucci, deputizing for the injured Callum Ilott, Christian Lundgaard, Graham Rahal and Conor Daly with FP1's pacesetter and IMSA pole-sitter Kyle Kirkwood also in group one. Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson would be joined in group one by Pato O'Ward, who narrowly lost to the Swede in last week's 500.
Ericsson was the first to set the pace in group one with a 1:16.5870 marginally quicker than the Meyer Shank duo of Castroneves and Pagenaud, but they were quickly shuffled back when Lundgaard managed a 1:16.3068 over two tenths faster than McLaughlin after the Kiwi vaulted himself up to second.
But in the final minutes, Lundgaard lost his position at the front of the times after Castroneves, O'Ward Ericsson McLaughlin Pagenaud broke into the 1:15s to ease into the fast 12, with Grosjean's final run good enough to knock Daly of the next stage of Qualifying. Kirkwood couldn't repeat his Friday heroics and only managed eighth in the group ahead of Ferrucci and Lundgaard.
DeFrancesco and Rahal also suffered nightmare sessions as they finished the session near the bottom of the group. Unfortunately for Kellett, he couldn't set a time condemning him to last on the grid.
Group two would feature Indy 500 rookie of the year protagonists Jimmie Johnson and David Malukas, with heavy hitters Felix Rosenqvist, Alex Palou, Newgarden, Will Power, Scott Dixon, Colton Herta and Alex Rossi fighting for a spot in the fast 12. The group's lineup would be completed with Rinus Veekey, Sato, Jack Harvey and Tatiana Calderon back in the number 11 AJ Foyt machine after missing the Indy 500.
Malukas led the field in the session's opening minutes with a 1:16.3251, slightly quicker than Rossi, who announced earlier in the week he would be switching to the Arrow McLaren team for 2023, ending his six-year association with Andretti Autosport. Malukas improved again as the clock ticked down and the track got quicker; the Chicago native banked at 1:14.8833, that was good enough to get him into the fast 12.
Rossi was over a tenth behind in second ahead of Herta and Newgarden, Dixon, whilst Sato produced the biggest surprise of the group as he snuck into the fast 12 with the sixth-fastest time of the second group.
Veekay could only manage seventh in group one whilst Palou and Power were a lowly eighth and ninth. Rosenqvist finished last in the group after the stewards deemed him at fault for blocking Johnson on his hot lap, earning him a drive-through penalty and ending all chance of him breaking into the fast 12.
Malukas's good run of form continued in the fast 12 as he set the early pace with a 1:14.8251. Still, he couldn't hold on to the top spot as O'Ward went over a tenth quicker to move to the front whilst Meyer Shank continued to showcase their excellent speed around the Belle Isle circuit with third and fourth marginally ahead of Sato, who continued to impress.
Grosjean pushed too hard on his last lap, kissing the barrier on the run down to the second to last corner before fully losing the rear of his Andretti Autosport machine, slamming into the wall, deranging his right front suspension. The Frenchman's shunt kept Newgarden in the top six as Messrs Herta, Ericsson, Dixon, McLaughlin, and Rossi couldn't improve their lap times due to the subsequent red flags that were brought out to retrieve Grosjean's stricken car.
In the final six, it was Newgarden who ended Dale Coyne's fairytale afternoon after snatching pole from Sato on his final lap, with row two being an all Meyer Shank affair as Pagenaud put his number 60 machine third on the grid ahead of Castroneves whilst O' Ward managed fifth in front of the impressive Malukas.